Argentine government to withdraw social welfare from protesters in roadblocks

Buenos Aires, Dec 18 (EFE). – The Argentine government confirmed on Monday that beneficiaries of social welfare who participate in roadblocks will no longer receive this government assistance.

“The only ones who will not be paid by the (social) plan are those who go to the march and block the road. The president (Javier Milei) has already said it: those who cut (roads) won’t get paid,” warned the Minister of Human Capital, Sandra Pettovello, in a recorded message.

In addition, she also reiterated that the executive branch will seek to eliminate the intermediation of social organizations for the granting of subsidies.

The announcement comes in light of the protest called for Dec. 20 by social movements and left-wing parties, to commemorate the demonstrations of the same date in 2001 against the worst economic, social and political crisis that the country experienced, which left dozens dead.

This year’s demonstration comes amid a skyrocketing inflation and the government’s announcement of a fiscal adjustment package that includes cuts in social subsidies.

The minister pointed out that “although it is a right to demonstrate, it is also to respect people’s right to move freely to go to work.”

“All those who promoted, instigated, organized or participated in the (road) cuts will lose any kind of dialogue with the Ministry of Human Capital,” Pettovello warned.

The Minister announced that an audit will be carried out on all the organizations that implement social plans, in order to eliminate the intermediation in the granting of these aids paid by the State to vulnerable and unemployed population.

The Minister pointed out that these intermediary organizations can not force beneficiaries to go to a march under the threat of canceling the benefit.

She also questioned the “mothers” of plan beneficiaries who take their children to the marches, claiming that it is “unnecessary” to expose children “to the heat and violence of the demonstrations.”

On Thursday, Argentina’s Minister of Security, Patricia Bullrich, announced that federal security forces will intervene to prevent road and highway closures and blockades of companies as a form of trade union or social protest.

Demonstrations can only be held on sidewalks and the security forces involved in the operation will be able to carry firearms, a protocol rejected by social organizations.

Argentina is experiencing a delicate social and economic scenario, with around 45% of the population living below the poverty line. EFE


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