In Argentina, thousands of people demonstrate for the “food emergency”

Demonstrations brought together several thousand people on Friday February 23 in various cities in Argentina to warn of the food emergency, during one of the mobilizations against the measures of the ultraliberal government of Javier Milei

In Argentina, thousands of people demonstrate for the “food emergency”

Demonstrations brought together several thousand people on Friday February 23 in various cities in Argentina to warn of the food emergency, during one of the mobilizations against the measures of the ultraliberal government of Javier Milei.

In Tucuman (in the northwest of the country), Mar del Plata (in the East) or Cordoba (in the North), the Argentine media reported sustained mobilizations, but the largest was organized in Buenos Aires, where several thousand people demonstrated, supervised by an imposing police force, noted Agence France-Presse.

The mobilization, on the theme "the food emergency can no longer wait", responded to the call of unions, small parties and social movements of the left or far left, but not of the largest union center, the CGT, which announces a general strike soon. The latter would be the second in three months since President Milei came to power.

Demonstrators are protesting a planned overhaul of public food assistance for the approximately 38,000 soup kitchens across the country. Argentina has more than 40% poor people, according to the latest figures from 2023.

The Milei administration wants to eliminate “middlemen” and “poverty managers,” targeting a myriad of social organizations engaged, it says, in “extortion and multi-million dollar trading” with aid.

“Critical poverty situation”

Ultimately, the government wants to establish direct aid to beneficiary sites, but in the meantime, demonstrators denounce the suspension of aid, at a time when austerity is sending more families to soup kitchens.

“In just over two months, this government has generated a situation of critical poverty,” denounced Nahuel Orellana, of the Movement of Socialist Workers, a small left-wing party, in a procession in Buenos Aires on Friday.

The government denies having stopped the delivery of food aid and asserts “that all soup kitchens which complied [with the standards]” and were registered with the Ministry of Human Capital continued to receive aid.

The effects of austerity measures are starting to be felt: stations emptied on Wednesday by a drivers' strike, strike in hospitals on Thursday, demonstrations on Friday, teachers' strike planned for Monday, the first day of school...

The government, for its part, welcomes the start of recovery in the accounts, with a budget surplus in January, and predicts inflation – 20% in January, reduced to single digits in the second half.