In the midst of the tension over food assistance, the Church asked the Government, through a statement released by Cáritas Argentina, to include social movements in the distribution of food.
Days ago, the Minister of Human Capital, Sandra Pettovello, signed food assistance agreements with religious entities, a move that was interpreted by many as an attempt to dilute the power of social organizations, in the midst of their bidding with the picketers and provoked unrest in Cáritas. “This commitment has been misinterpreted, understanding it as an exclusive agreement between the Church and the State to be the sole or main validated interlocutors in helping the most vulnerable sectors,” she stated.
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However, the Episcopal Commission stressed that “today no one can assume the quantity and complexity of social work individually, and that is why we insist on integrating all those who with enormous sensitivity care for the poorest and who also give them the necessary help so they can continue doing it.”
After the crossing with Sandra Pettovello, social organizations demanded food assistance (Photo: Télam)
“Over the last few years and as poverty levels have grown in Argentina, we have learned to work with a large number of movements, associations, neighborhood centers, unions, etc.,” they said in a statement signed of bishops Calos Tissera (Quilmes), Gustavo Carrara (CABA) and Roberto Álvarez (Rawson).
Likewise, the bishops emphasized the importance of “growing in transparency” and in that sense urged the Government to carry out audits to “guarantee that all awarded funds reach the poorest.”
“In a country whose poverty continues to grow and that does not admit biased views, ideological prejudices and sectoral fights, we are witnesses that many brothers live the anguish of not knowing what they will feed their children tomorrow. It is not difficult to overcome the current difficulties and disagreements by putting back at the center what should always have been there: people and families who live in poverty or destitution, especially children and the elderly. The rest is nothing else,” they concluded.
Petovello signed an assistance agreement with CONIN. Photo: Ministry of Social Development
The signing of agreements with religious entities, including the Abel Albino Child Nutrition Cooperator or the Christian Alliance of Evangelical Churches of Argentina (Aciera) occurred amidst claims from social and community organizations, which formed lines of 20 blocks for more than four hours requesting food aid in front of the Ministry of Human Capital, after the head of the organization told protesters last week that she would receive “people who are hungry, not the leaders.”
The Minister of Human Capital clarified: “I did not summon the people to be under the sun, the leaders summoned them. The other day, upon seeing them at the door of the Ministry, I went down to assist them due to a specific situation. But this time I am not going to receive them because I did not summon them. They were the leaders who use people and make them stand in line under the sun,” according to official information from the Ministry. In turn, the presidential spokesperson, Manuel Adorni, confirmed at a press conference at Casa Rosada that Pettovello was not going to receive the picketers.
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Days ago, the Catholic Church, through the Argentine Episcopal Conference (CEA), had already asked the Government not to interrupt aid to care centers, warning that “hundreds of thousands of families” in the country have problems “Eat well”. And they stated: “Food cannot be an adjustment variable.”