Now that they’re no longer in power, apparently talking about poverty is suddenly kosher. After the INDEC statistics agency published poverty figures for the first time in three years, revealing that one in three live below the poverty line, Kirchnerites rushed to point the finger at President Mauricio Macri.
The head of the Victory Front (FpV) Lower House caucus Héctor Recalde said that the way Macri blamed the previous administration for the current poverty rate is “deplorable,” noting that “all you have to do is ask people how they lived in December of last year and how they’re living now.”
Former Economy minister Axel Kicillof, now a Victory Front (FpV) lawmaker, said that “Macri multiplied poverty, blames others and doesn’t provide solutions […] there has never been such a sudden increase in poverty as now.”
It’s an interesting statement considering the previous government always avoided talking exact numbers when it came to poverty. As Economy minister, Kicillof once deftly tried to avoid the subject altogether.
“It’s complicated,” he said when he was asked what the poverty rate was. “I don’t have that number. I think it’s an index that stigmatizes people.”
Kicillof also accused the government of changing the methodology to measure poverty so that they would coincide with what President Mauricio Macri said during last year’s campaign.
Just because it avoided talking about statistics, it doesn’t mean the previous administration avoided the issue of poverty in general. In fact, poverty reduction was often touted as a success story. Last year, former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner told the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N in Rome that Argentina’s poverty rate was below 5 percent — citing the widely discredited 2013 INDEC rate. Cabinet Chief Aníbal Fernández was compelled to defend the statement as an interviewer told him the figure would mean Argentina had a lower poverty rate than Germany. “They aren’t doing well,” Fernández said of Germany.
That led to a tongue-in-cheek “call to solidarity” to help Germany on social media. Macri himself made reference to that number in his press conference yesterday and Fernández doubled down on Twitter:
— Aníbal Fernández (@FernandezAnibal) September 28, 2016
“Great prez! I know you don’t read a thing, dude, which makes the mention even more worthy,” Fernández wrote, linking to an article about the high rate of child poverty in Germany (although still lower than Argentina…).
He also harshly criticized Macri today in a series of tweets.
POBREZA: Todas las políticas se dirigen a que hayan más pobres que hace 10 meses. AUH aumento 30% y la inflación 45%. No les importa
— Aníbal Fernández (@FernandezAnibal) September 29, 2016
“All the policies are directed at there being more poor people than 10 months ago. [The Universal Child Allowance] increased 30 percent and the inflation is 45 percent. They don’t care.”