Left-wing activists demand nationwide assistance for soup kitchens

A social leader called for Economy Minister Sergio Massa to ‘pay attention’

Left-wing activists from different social movements marched on Thursday to the Social Development and the Economy ministries, demanding government assistance to soup kitchens and increases in welfare programs.

The Polo Obrero, the Movimiento Teresa Rodríguez, the Bloque Piquetero Nacional and other organizations grouped in the Frente de Lucha Piquetero gathered this morning at 10:00 at the intersection of the 9 de Julio and San Juan avenues. From there, they marched towards the Ministry of Social Development and then to the Ministry of Economy by the Plaza de Mayo.

The rally caused long delays for drivers going from the Constitución neighborhood to the Obelisk, Congreso, and Plaza de Mayo. The Polo Obrero said in a press release that similar marches took place across the country.

The communiqué also said that last week’s 22% devaluation of the peso was an “attack against the workers.” 

“It impacted on the rise of all prices, with wages and low incomes lagging behind inflation, throwing new groups of workers into poverty and destitution,” said the communiqué published on Wednesday.

The press release said that the government is applying austerity measures mandated by the International Monetary Fund.

Vanina Biaisi, Buenos Aires City mayoral candidate for the left-wing Partido Obrero (Workers’ Party) — the party to which the Polo Obrero social movement belongs — blamed the national administration for increased poverty and discontent.

“At this point, we could call them [far-right candidate Javier] Milei’s campaign managers,” Biaisi said in an interview with Prensa Obrera, the party’s press organ. She also contended that the recent spate of lootings across the country was “fed” by the government’s policies.

“We demand that they take the food to the soup kitchens, that they take extraordinary measures, and that they put an end to austerity policies.”

A cook from a soup kitchen in La Matanza told Prensa Obrera that, in the last five months, they went from feeding 170 people to 300.

“There’d better be some kind of response to the existing needs of the people, which are enormous, because if not we will carry on with our fight program,” said Polo Obrero head Eduardo Belliboni, addressing Economy Minister Sergio Massa in his closing speech. “We are not going to take no for an answer. Pay attention, Massa, to society’s demands because you go every day to the United States to pay obeisance to the IMF.”

This week, Massa went to Washington, DC to negotiate with the Fund, which unanimously approved a disbursement of US$7.5 billion to Argentina after protracted negotiations. In a press conference on Wednesday, Massa said the devaluation was “imposed” by the lender and said that he would announce measures to counteract the resulting price rise on Friday.

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