MONTEVIDEO – The urban transport and taxi unions of Montevideo called a 24-hour strike for Saturday to protest the killing of a taxi driver who was providing service in the Uruguayan capital’s downtown area.
According to the leader of the taxi drivers’ union, Oscar Dourado, 80 percent of taxi drivers and owners had joined in the strike, while buses were apparently operating normally for the Holy Week holiday.
Carlos Alberto Garcia, 42, was found seriously injured Friday night by a resident of the Cerro neighborhood and was taken to hospital where he died of his bullet wounds.
According to police officials quoted by the El Espectador radio station, the taxi driver died resisting assault, though the criminals did not manage to steal money from his cab.
They also said that two men were arrested shortly after the incident but had to be released hours later for lack of evidence.
Dourado regretted that despite the good work being done to guarantee taxi drivers’ safety, they continue to be easy prey for criminals.
“This for us is a great sorrow. The taximeter, unfortunately, heads the losses...criminals have always been after it. We’re really defenseless in our work, we’re exposed, we’re alone wherever we go.”
The president of the Unott national transport workers union, Oilcar Camaño, told the media that cases of violence against workers in the sector will always be a reason for strikes in Uruguay.
“There will always be a strike when there is an injury or an assault, an act of violence against a transport co-worker. Transport is going on strike for 24 hours as agreed internally by Unott, and there’s no discussion about it,” he said.
Crime in Montevideo is raising complaints among the different social, economic and union sectors, which decry the insecurity reigning in many parts of the city.
The government for its part considers that there is no more crime now than several years ago and that the problem comes in part from the media always reporting when crimes are committed.