Famine in the land of meat and wheat

  • Poverty spreads through the shacks of Argentina, a universe of marginality with no time to think about Sunday’s elections

  • Up to 1.5 million people suffer from hunger, a scourge that affects 60% of the country’s children, who have taken to work

Atrocious dirty and spilled citadels/ from houses like mushrooms; brass, bags, ditches / sunk by the rains, bitten by the winds. “In 1957, Raúl González Tuñón wrote his poem ‘Villa amargura’ to portray the impoverished areas of a country where the poverty was less than 8% and caused indignation. That figure has multiplied by more than five in the heat of successive crises, and it is no longer so scandalizing. The hunger lacerates so much in the so-called “shanty town”, as the universe of shacks that have spread throughout the Argentine territory, that there is no time to think about the elections. The city of Buenos Aires have 36 marginal settlements. Its rusted tin roofs, the mark of congenital neglect, refute the Europeanizing aspirations of the capital.

Villa 21–24, also known as Villa Zabaleta, is located in the south, bordering a foul stream. Fidel Ruiz is part of the social organization La Poderosa, in charge of his sports center Diego Armando Maradona. Recreational activities take place there after a day where it is not known if there will be dinner at many of the tables. “The conditions in which people live are extremely vulnerable. People line up in soup kitchens, kids cannot access education. Connectivity has been lacking in the pandemic. The sports center, therefore, is a space to dream and free yourself “.

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Argentina is the world’s third largest producer of soy, garlic, honey and lemons; the quarter of corn and meat, a product whose consumption levels are those of a century ago. In turn, it ranks seventh among sellers of wheat and oils. According to the United Nations Food Organization (FAO), 1.5 million people suffer from hunger. The Catholic University doubles that number. Almost the 60% of children, some of whom go to the Villa Zabaleta Sports Center, are in that condition. 23% of the minors have gone to work. Half started doing it in pandemic. And everything can be worse.

In the last 12 months, the inflation it has been 52%. Rumors of a sharp devaluation after the elections sent prices skyrocketing. And that difference is felt a lot in 21-24. In these shacks live 40,000 people who fight every day to avoid falling into destitution. Its 13 churches are packed on Sundays. The requests for a little salvation are thundered inside its walls.


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