Source: Resumen Latinoamericano / Photo credit: Resumen Latinoamericano / The Dawn News / August 7, 2017
Today was the Day of Saint Cajetan, patron saint of Argentina and the unemployed. A day in which many of the country’s unemployed peregrinate to ask the saint for a job—and those who have one, peregrinate to thank him for it.
Social organizations were part of the mobilization, which every year brings forth the issue of growing systemic unemployment in the country. The social movements that marched for “Bread, Pace, Land, Housing and Work” included the Confederation of Workers of the Informal Economy (CTEP), the Evita Movement, the Combative and Classist Current (CCC), the Pope Francis Missionary Movement, the Darío Santillán Front, the Miles Party, the Federation of the University of Buenos Aires and the Union Youth.
Some of these organizations also presented a bill to Congress to declare a situation of “food emergency” in the country and take immediate action to alleviate the hunger of poor Argentines.
Deputy Lucila de Ponti said: “we can’t simply accept the fact that in our country, which produces every one of the basic foods, more than 13 million people live in poverty”. The social leaders and legislators that are pushing for the food emergency bill to be passed say the days between the primary elections next Sunday and the presidential elections in August is critical. The massive support by opposition blocs to this bill guarantees a preliminary approval at the Lower Chamber. There are still no certainties regarding the Senate.
Social movements are willing to take to the streets during election time to force political parties to vote on the bill. “We’re going to be on the streets until the end of the year if that’s what it takes. We social movements don’t have electoral commitments and we’re going to go out and protest as many times as necessary”, de Ponti said.
She recalls last year’s success in getting Congress to sanction the Social Emergency bill, which has managed to “provide a complementary income for 50 thousand workers of the informal economy”. So far this year, they have already executed a little over 50% of the budget for the Social Emergency program, so they predict they will be able to use the entire budget by the end of 2017.