Milei administration complies with federal court, presents plan for food distribution

The Ministry of Human Capital has been under fire for sitting on more than 5,000 tons of goods in two separate warehouses

The Ministry of Human Capital presented its plan to redistribute more than 5,000 tons of food to vulnerable people across the country on Thursday, narrowly meeting the Justice Department’s 24-hour deadline to do so. 

On Wednesday, a Buenos Aires City Federal Court issued the order, two weeks after the news website El Destape revealed that the foods were sitting in two government warehouses — one in Villa Martelli, Buenos Aires, and the other in Tafí Viejo, Tucumán. In February, Juan Grabois, who leads the social organization Movimiento de Tabajadores Excluidos, filed a formal complaint against Human Capital Minister Sandra Pettovello. Grabois followed that complaint in May with a request for an in-person inspection of the warehouses.

On May 24, prosecutors Andrés Nazer and María Paloma Ochoa presented the ministry with a five-day deadline to deliver its food to registered soup kitchens in a ruling signed by Judge Santiago Casanello. The ministry appealed the decision, which was unanimously upheld by Federal Court Judge Martín Irurzun, Eduardo Guillermo Farah, and Roberto José Boico in a 38-page ruling.

Newly appointed Secretary of Childhood, Adolescence, and Family Yanina Nano Lembo presented the plan. Nano Lembo replaced Pablo de la Torre, whom the Milei administration cut ties with in the wake of the scandal. De la Torre is currently under criminal investigation for allegedly handing out irregular employment contracts via the Ibero-American States (OEI, by its Spanish acronym) in a separate case. 

According to Nano Lembo, 300,000 liters of milk that expire in July will be sent to the Child Nutrition Cooperative (Fundación CONIN, by its Spanish acronym), which will be charged with its disbursement. This operation began on Wednesday with the deployment of army trucks to Tucumán.

“The remaining food will be distributed to vulnerable schools across the country,” Nano Lembo said. “Vulnerable schools are those with high numbers of at-risk children and low levels of educational and socioeconomic performance.”

Undersecretary of the Ministry of Human Capital Leila Gianni, who shared a tense exchange with Grabois earlier in the week in which the latter accused her of depriving the poor, announced the administration’s decision to comply with the court order. Gianni added that the food was intended to be used in the event of a catastrophe.

“Thanks to the court’s decision, this possibility cannot be considered,” she said.

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