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Argentines demand outgoing Macri to renew Food Emergency Bill

Photo credit: Barrios de Pie/Twitter

By BO Staff Writer

Last month Argentina‘s legislature voted in favor of renewing an emergency food law which was enacted in 2002 to address the problem of hunger arising from the huge unemployment and poverty rate. Frustrated that a month has passed since the food emergency law was voted for, and nothing meaningful has happened – Argentines engaged in a protest march in Buenos Aires on Thursday, demanding that President Mauricio Macri re-enacts the said law. Macri’s tenure ends on December 10.

Up until December 2018, the said law was periodically renewed. The re-enactment of the law as voted for, will see the development of a national program for nutrition and food. Moreover it mandates an increase of a minimum of 50% of government’s spending to address hunger – which this year was estimated by the country’s congressional budget office to be US$172 million (10 billion pesos).

The said law further empowers Cabinet ministers to shuffle and redirect monies already budgeted for other reasons, towards addressing hunger.

Ever since Macri signed a huge IMF deal, which in turn has compelled Argentina into adopting neoliberal reforms, the country has been in a state of crisis.

While the Barrios de Pie (Neighborhoods Stand Up), and other progressive organizations are optimistic about Alberto Fernandez’s presidential electoral victory and have confidence in him reducing poverty and to this end hunger – they are nonetheless demanding that Macri initiates the process of implementing the law.

“In Argentina, there is a transition to a newly elected government, but that won’t happen for 40 days. And when we’re talking about a food emergency we’re saying that hunger can’t wait, poverty can’t wait,” Silvia Saravia, the national coordinator of Barrios de Pie, is reported to have said.