Today appears to be a step toward anarchy as taxi drivers once again block the highways and key intersections. The day-long strike follows a march by electrical and telecom workers who took to the streets Monday.
Taxi drivers have had a lot of practice in blocking roadways. This is a long-standing method of protest, but this time they really are angry. The basic target of their unhappiness is the Uber ride service that they feel is taking business from them illegally.
Uber has replaced the many unlicensed pirate taxi drivers as the prime focus of the drivers of the red cabs.
In a larger sense, the protest is about money with the perception that living is harder now. That was a motivation for the workers at the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad who marched to Casa Presidencial Monday.
The ICE workers are upset at some staff and budget cutbacks. The march shows the unwillingness of Costa Ricans to recognize the difficult financial position of the nation.
Taxi drivers were caught flatfooted by the Uber
technology that unified requests for cabs. There have been similar systems available here, but they had not been promoted well.
So it took Uber to come and ignore completely the extensive and expensive bureaucracy the government had erected around the taxi business.
The ICE workers are members of the Asociación Sindical de Empleados Industriales de las Comunicaciones y la Energía. Their leaders were upset that no one from the government received them at Casa Presidencial Monday. They want the president to fire the state firm’s administration.
The firm said that just 11 of its 135 offices for the public were closed due to absenteeism Monday.
Taxi drivers are likely to get a similar cold shoulder today from top officials. On the job will be hundreds of Fuerza Pública and traffic officers. The government has said it will not allow the drivers to block completely the highways and intersections.
Usually the drivers are careful to keep one lane open, although that is almost as bad as a complete blockade.