Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said he “celebrates” the end of the truckers strike but said that the decision to eliminate minimum freight rates “still stands,” according to a press release on the presidential website.
“The first thing I would like to say before talking about this important event is that I celebrate the lifting of this absurd truckers strike, this blockade which has caused so much damage,” the president said in a forum in Bogota.
He stressed that the state’s authority is non-negotiable and that laws cannot be changed through force, but that the government is always open to dialogue.
“Since the beginning, since August 7, I have reiterated that we are always, always open to dialogue. We believe that through dialogue we can find constructive solutions for our country. Through dialogue you can find the middle ground, or the most middle possible, and everyone is happy,” Santos said.
He also said however, that the modernization of the country is another thing that is non-negotiable and that the elimination of the minimum freight rate, which caused the truckers to strike, is a decision that still stands.
“We said that there is a principle, which is a mandate from the Colombian people, which was non-negotiable. That is the modernization of the country, the country’s progress, meaning the decision to move towards a free, monitored system, to eliminate the freight rates table. It was a decision that is not negotiable,” the president said.
He explained that this modernization would provide a better quality of life for truckers and improve the development of transport throughout the country.
The truckers agreed to end a a two-week strike early Friday morning after signing an agreement with the government to keep minimum freight rates in place while the truckers agreed to take part in a work group that will come up with way to regulate the transport sector.