Argentina: Police Raid Dozens of Soup Kitchens

Wed May 15 2024
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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina: Argentine authorities said on Tuesday that dozens of raids had been carried out against soup kitchens and the groups that run them as part of an investigation into alleged extortion of the poor.

The investigation comes after aid to about 38,000 soup kitchens was frozen when libertarian President Javier Milei took office in December, promising to cut spending and stamp out welfare corruption.

The security ministry said police raided 27 soup kitchens and the homes of social leaders on Monday and Tuesday following allegations that the poor were forced to participate in anti-government protests in exchange for food.

Milei’s government has set up a hotline for people to denounce the practice.

The protests were allegedly organized to force the government to hand out more welfare money or food, some of which never found its way to the intended recipients.

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Milei seeks to eliminate the practice of using social movements as intermediaries to deliver aid and end what she calls the “poverty trade.”

Social movements have condemned the raids and alleged complaints as an effort to discredit and persecute their leaders, who are mostly fierce government critics.

The FOL movement accused the government of “emptying soup kitchens and taking food from millions of families” by freezing aid.

The Ministry of Human Capital, which is in charge of social assistance, reported that half of the soup kitchens could not be audited because they were not registered.

It was found that some places registered as soup kitchens do not provide this service.

“Anti-poverty plans generate more poverty,” presidential spokesman Manuel Adorni wrote on Tuesday.

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