Argentina’s inflation forces families to cut back

(12 May 2023)
Buenos Aires – 10 May 2023
1. People standing in line to receive food at soup kitchen
2. Milanesas (breaded meat) before being fried
3. Susana Martínez frying milanesas
4. Gas stove burner
5. Evelyn Morales serving rice
6. Martínez and Morales prepare packages of food
7. Volunteer putting bread in a bag to give away
8. Packages with breaded meat and rice
9. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Gimena Páez, 43-year-old unemployed resident:
“We come every day, if it wasn’t for the soup kitchen… Our only food (in a day) is from this place. Sometimes I don’t eat so I can save a little bit of food for my daughter at night.”
10. Páez walking home with the food from the soup kitchen
11. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Juan Carlos Barreto, 73-year-old retiree:
“I want to eat dulce de leche (carmel sauce), some fruit or bread. How much is that? I’m spending a lot of money, with 58,000 pesos ($253 dollars as a pension payment) it is not enough and then there was no other way out than to come here »
12. Volunteers who also receive food from the soup kitchen eat breakfast before delivering hot meals

Buenos Aires – 9 May 2023
13. Various members of social organizations marching to protest against government policies, demanding higher salaries amid high inflation
14. Various of riot police during protest outside the social welfare ministry building

Buenos Aires – 11 May 2023
15. Various of Martínez drinking

Buenos Aires, Argentina – 9 May 2023
16. SOUNDBITE (Spanish): Susana Martínez, 47-year-old masseuse:
“Going to the supermarket really makes me depressed and it makes you feel powerless when you have kids… because older ones can understand it, but how do you tell a little girl that I can’t buy you that dessert now… you’ll have to eat this or this week you can’t?»

Buenos Aires – 11 May 2023
17. Martínez hugging her 11-year-old daughter Valentina
18. Valentina playing with her dog
Gimena Páez could barely pay her bills.

Then inflation in Argentina started rising even faster.

The value of the country’s currency plunged, making most goods nearly unobtainable.

Getting enough food for herself and her 11-year-old daughter became a daily struggle.

Inflation has been a problem across the world but Argentina is second in a World Bank ranking of countries with the highest food inflation.

On Friday, Argentina’s state-run INDEC statistics agency said that the inflation in food prices over the 12 months ending in April was 115%.

That has been topped only by Lebanon, with a whopping 352%.

Life was never easy for the neighbors of Nueva Pompeya, a lower-middle-class neighborhood where Páez lives at the southern end of Argentina’s capital.

These days, for many in Argentina, paying bills and getting to the end of the month have taken a backseat to a more basic problem: getting enough to eat.

Argentina’s annual inflation rate has already surpassed 100% a year.

The price of food has increased even faster, leading many to rely on soup kitchens to get at least one hearty meal a day.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Páez managed to make ends meet as a street vendor.

She was forced to sell everything amid strict quarantine measures, and now spends much of her time trying to figure out how to feed her daughter.

Susana Martínez, 47, who works at the soup kitchen several hours a week, is one of those questioning how much longer the current situation can last before there’s upheaval.

Annual inflation reached 108.8% in April.

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