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News > Argentina

Argentine Judge Forces Milei to Distribute Stored Food

  • State-owned food warehouse raided by judicial authorities in Argentina, June 2024.

    State-owned food warehouse raided by judicial authorities in Argentina, June 2024. | Photo: X/ @LPOArg

Published 4 June 2024
Opinion

While 51 percent of Argentines live in poverty, the Milei administration kept 5,000 tons of food abandoned in warehouses.

By order of Judge Sebastian Casanello, President Javier Milei was forced to distribute food that was intended for social assistance programs for the poorest Argentines.

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On Tuesday, the Argentine army began distributing food valued at approximately US$4 million that had been stored unused and was about to expire. 

This situation triggered a scandal, leading to the resignation of senior officials from the Human Capital Ministry. Prosecutor Paloma Ochoa is leading an investigation into the matter.

About 5,000 tons of food, abandoned in two state warehouses, must be distributed in the next two weeks under an immediate delivery protocol due to the expiration dates of the products.

With the support of the highway police, food distribution operations are being carried out in the provinces of Buenos Aires and Tucuman.

The text reads, "The government of the banality of evil. So, how to describe the whimsical gathering of food in the midst of hunger?" The caricatures refer to far-right Latin American politicians Jair Bolsonaro and Javier Milei. The sign reads, "Milei spreads hate."

Specifically, the food will be distributed by the Foundation for Child Nutrition (CONIN) in community dining halls in Buenos Aires peripheral settlements such as Hurlingham, Merlo, Jose Paz, Escobar, and Tigre, which are areas severely affected by poverty.

CONIN Director Diego Alvarez explained that his organization operates 110 distribution centers supplying about 400 dining halls. It will also distribute over 465 tons of powdered milk to the most vulnerable sectors of society.

Previously, Pablo de la Torre, the Secretary of Childhood, Adolescence, and Family, had to resign due to the scandal caused by negligence in the timely distribution of food. In an initial reaction, Milei appointed Human Capital Minister Sandra Pettovello as the person responsible for food distribution.

"No food arrived late. The scandal arose from what was supposedly expiring at the end of the month. Pettovello is the best minister in history," the far-right Argentine president said in an attempt to justify what had happened.

The Human Capital Ministry announced that it will design a new emergency aid storage system to be overseen by presidential advisor Federico Sturzenegger, who is considered the architect of the Milei administration's anti-regulation and anti-state reforms.

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