In the past ten years, poverty in Argentina has been reduced. There have been two presidents during that time, interestingly enough from the same family. The late president Nestor Kirchner was in power, and in 2007, was suceeded by his wife, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (pictured above). Part of the reduction of poverty in Argentina is due to the steps that have been taken over the past decade: there has been both increased employment and an expansion on educational coverage. Perhaps these leaps and bounds into the future of the reduction of poverty in Argentina can be largely attributed to the Kirchners. However, the exact statistics have been disputed; there are no firm numbers on the exact amount of reduction of poverty in Argentina. All that experts and activists can agree on is that poverty has, indeed, been reduced significantly over the past decade of Kirchner presidents.
The founder of the Red Solidaria (or the Solidarity Network), Juan Carr, commented that the country still has malnourished children, but they are still closer than they ever have been to a zero hunger country. The Red Solidaria is a network that can connect volunteers with pleas for assistance to any problem, which can cover domestic violence, cancer treatment, or even flood damage. The network itself connects the callers with the appropriate agency, and in some cases, campaigns are created through social networks and the media. Juan Carr has recently launched an initiative to connect with the international community, called the Global Community Services Network (or Red Solidaria Global). Juan Carr is just one activist that has commented on the reduction of poverty in Argentina.
In 2001, the poverty rate in Argentina was 54%, an appalling number. This created a series of protests, and multiple cases of brutal police crackdowns. This led to the president at the time to step down, and Kirchner took his place in 2003. According to the INDEC, or the National Statistics and Census Institute, poverty was reduced to a mere 5.4% in Argentina as of 2012. In just a decade, poverty was cut down 90%. Unfortunately, the statistics are being disputed; some claim that poverty is still as high as 27%. The unemployment rates also have disputed statistics. The official claim is that unemployment went from 24% as of 2002, to 7.9% today. This rate is questioned. However, in both cases, both statistics reflect a reduction of poverty in Argentina. Even though it may not be as high as claimed by the government, it still has been reduced a significant amount, which is a fact that should be applauded.
One of the many ways that poverty was reduced was through the Universal Child Allowance (AUH) fund created by the administration of Fernandez. It is a program that transfers cash to unemployed or “informal” parents. It also began to include disabled people and pregnant women. This fund helps around 1.8 million families, and is conditional on both school attendance and medical checkups and vaccinations. Overall, it pulled at least 500,000 people out of poverty in a matter of months.
Even though the exact numbers are not clear in regards to poverty in Argentina, the exact numbers are not necessary for a celebration. Argentina has reduced their poverty from over half their population to less than a third, if not even more. This was primarily due to innovative programs launched by the Argentinian government as well as social activists, including the AUH and Red Solidaria. Living conditions have improved across the board, including middle-class families, and the government will most certainly continue to try and improve their country in the upcoming years, as well.
– Corina Balsamo
Sources: IEDE, Global Issues, World Bank