Video: Argentina poverty questioned

Government accused of massaging data to give false impression on number of poor.

    Latin America, like many parts of the world, is continuing to struggle with the global recession.

    The United Nations estimates poverty is increasing as countries report rising unemployment figures.

    But there are growing concerns in Argentina that the government is manipulating the official statistics on poverty.

    Many people there say the actual numbers are far higher than the government is willing to admit.

    Many middle-class Argentines have lost their jobs amid the recession, and have turned to soup kitchens to get food.

    'Embarassing' facts

    Fifteen percent of the population is poor, according to govenrment data, but people working in soup kitchens say that more and more people are coming for free food.
    The national rate of poverty across the country is nearer 40 per cent, the Catholic University in Argentina has concluded after its own independent study.

    Many Argentines say that President Cristina Kirchner is manipulating the data on poverty due to embarassment over the fact that inflation and poverty have increased.

    They also say that it is in the government's interest to issue more postive data on poverty because 30 per cent of the Argentine debt is tied to inflation, and that lower poverty figures mean the government can save billion of dollars on payments.

    Teresa Bo reports from a soup kitchen in Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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