The Chamber of Deputies of Argentina unanimously approved on Thursday the bill of Food and Nutrition Emergency, which establishes an increase in items for the supply of dining rooms and snacks in vulnerable areas, and sent the text to the Senate, where it will also be debated.
The initiative, which had been presented by the opposition to alleviate the effects on the population of the serious economic crisis in the country, marked by the devaluation of the peso and high inflation, received 222 votes in favor and one abstention.
In practice, the initiative proposes the extension until December 31, 2022 of the National Food Emergency established by decree in 2002 – after the crisis of 2001, which established the 'bank yard' that limited money withdrawals from the banks- and promotes the creation of the National Food and Nutrition Program.
The project establishes "an emergency increase of at least 50% of the current budget items for the current year corresponding to national public food and nutrition policies".
The decision of national deputies is preceded by a large number of demonstrations by social organizations, which demanded urgent measures from the government for social containment and especially to strengthen the food health of the most vulnerable.
The radical deputy Mario Negri, who chairs the interblock of the ruling Cambiemos front, considered after the approval of the project that he acted "with a lot of responsibility", and there was no "demagogic act in a problem as serious as this".
"This session is not driven because people make a march, please be clear, this session was for the extension of the food plan and I think it was an act of maturity," Negri added.
On the other hand, Agustín Rossi, head of the majority opposition block of the Front for Victory, was "satisfied" with the result and commented that the fiscal cost that the measure would have is "absolutely lower".
"The issue of hunger was not a political or electoral issue, but it was a humanitarian issue and it was finally understood," he said.
The economic recession that Argentina has suffered since April 2018 worsened since August 11, when President Mauricio Macri suffered a massive defeat in the primary elections, surpassed by 16 points by opposition leader Alberto Fernández, of the Peronist Frente de Todos , who thus became the favorite to win in the October generals.
That defeat of the ruling party generated strong turbulence in the financial markets from the following day, with repeated stock market crashes and steep declines in the peso against the dollar, which will translate, as usual in Argentina, into an advance of already high inflation which will lead to an increase in poverty levels.
The official Toty Flores, of the Civic Coalition -one of the formations that make up Cambiemos-, acknowledged by intervening in the parliamentary debate that the social situation has worsened, but not with the severity that the opposition warns.
"Although we do not agree with the magnitude of this situation that we are experiencing, we have decided to accompany the treatment of the project because we think it is necessary to accompany the people who are suffering," said the legislator.
Meanwhile, protests in the streets have been escalating until this Wednesday, in the middle of clashes with the police, various social movements started a camp for 48 hours in the central avenue 9 de Julio de Buenos Aires, in front of the Ministry of Social Development .
Also, this Thursday there was a massive concentration in front of the Congress to accompany the debate that was going on inside.
Esteban Castro, secretary general of the Confederation of Workers of the Popular Economy, assured Efe that this measure, which has yet to be approved in the Senate, was "for yesterday."
"The problem is that the four daily meals are not guaranteed, some eat once a day and others eat because they come to our dining rooms, that is the situation in a country that produces food for ten times the population that we are," Castro said.
On the other hand, Mónica Díaz, coordinator of 23 social canteens in the Buenos Aires town of Lomas de Zamora, said the situation worsens "day by day".
"It is getting worse because at the beginning, -the dining rooms- only children attended and today there are fathers and mothers who have lost their jobs," he said.
. (tagsToTranslate) Deputies (t) Argentines (t) emergency (t) food (t) Senate