Barrios De Pie (Neighborhoods On Their Feet), which defines itself as a social justice organization, has set up several roadblocks or piquetes in protest over what they’re calling the “precarious social situation” the country faces and to ask that more food be provided by the Buenos Aires provincial government for the organization’s food distribution to the poor and unemployed.
The main roadblock began early this morning on avenues Corrientes and Callao, at 7 AM, meaning that traffic has already been chaotic for a while. In addition, between 11 AM and 2 PM, they are set to cut off the following main access points to the City of Buenos Aires:
- Puente Pueyrredón
- Puente Lanoria
- General Paz and Constituyentes
- Panamericana and Route 197
- Route 25 and the Buenos Aires-La Playa highway
There may also be roadblocks in the Greater Buenos Aires Area.
Barrios de Pie is a social organization that voices the demands of unemployed people on a national level. It was created in 2001 and staunchly supported former President Néstor Kirchner’s government. As an organization, it also provides community services such as food distributions through community bakeries and outdoor picnic areas (merenderos).
According to the head of Barrios de Pie, Daniel Menéndez, “the number of people that are turning [to them] for food has doubled this year alone.” In addition, the organization has complained that the food provided by Buenos Aires Province does not include either meat or fruit: “The small AR $12.60 per child being given to schools to provide food for the children is not enough for adequate nutrition.” According to a study carried out by the organization surveying 4,042 people dependent on their food aid, there were “alarming percentages of malnutrition.”
“[Roadblocks are] the only way that we have for politicians to take action. Many are too slow to respond,” continued Menéndez.
The organization will hand in a written request to Buenos Aires Province Governor María Eugenia Vidal, who is currently in New York, with the aforementioned complaints and concerns over the “million and a half new poor people” Menéndez cites in need of aid. Representatives of Barrios de Pie met with provincial Social Development Minister Santiago López Medrano last week, but maintain that they “never got an answer.”
In addition to the swelling ranks of unemployed people, many neighborhood clubs and community centers throughout the country risk having to close their doors due to their inability to pay the high costs of electricity, water and gas and everything else undergoing massive price hikes.
Both “Barrios de Pie” and “Corrientes y Callao” have become Trending Topic on Twitter this morning.
— El Destape (@eldestapeweb) May 31, 2016
“A map of the piquetes: Barrios de Pie marches due to the “precarious social situation.”
Corrientes y Callao cortado no importa cuando leas esto
— Gabi (@GabiiiRP) May 31, 2016
“No matter when you read this, Corrientes and Callao is blocked.”
Arm yourself with patience, reader. This may not be the last of Barrios de Pie and is definitely not the end of roadblocks.