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ARGENTINA | 14-05-2024 22:11

Police raid dozens of soup kitchens across Argentina

Authorities say dozens of raids had been carried out against soup kitchens and groups that manage them as part of a probe into alleged extortion of the poor.

Argentine authorities said Tuesday that dozens of raids had been carried out against soup kitchens and groups that manage them, as part of a probe into alleged extortion of the poor.

The investigation comes after aid to some 38,000 soup kitchens was frozen when President Javier Milei took office in December, vowing to slash spending and weed out corruption regarding social aid.

The Security Ministry said police had carried out raids on Monday and Tuesday on 27 soup kitchens and the homes of social leaders after accusations the poor were forced to attend anti-government protests in exchange for food.

Milei's government had set up a hotline for people to denounce the practice.

The protests were allegedly organised to pressure the government into doling out more social money or food, part of which never found its way to the intended recipients.

Milei is seeking to eliminate the practice of using social movements as intermediaries to deliver aid and end what he calls "the business of poverty."

The social movements have slammed 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, taking food from millions of families" with its freeze on aid.

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

Some places registered as soup kitchens were found not to be providing the service.

"Anti-poverty plans generate more poverty," Presidential Spokesman Manuel Adorni wrote on Tuesday.

 

– TIMES/AFP

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