BUENOS AIRES, September 30 (Reuters) – Eduardo David Rodriguez sells bags of fruit and vegetables at a fresh produce market in Buenos Aires twice a week to make ends meet for his family. They hardly do.
Rodriguez, like some four in ten Argentines, lives below the poverty line, a rate that has climbed during the coronavirus pandemic that has exacerbated three years of economic recession in the country, once among the richest in the world.
Rodriguez, 40, lives with his wife and two of their four children in a small house outside the capital. There is no bathroom, running water or gas for cooking.
“It’s hard to work here, it’s the truth, but there is no choice but to come here and bring the daily bread back to the family,” he told Reuters, claiming that he made about 12,000 pesos per month, which is the equivalent of about $ 60.
With his wife’s income of 14,000 pesos and a state grant of 13,000 pesos, the monthly family income normally reaches around 39,000 pesos ($ 195), well below the 67,000 pesos under which a family of four. people are considered poor in Argentina.
The government said on Thursday that the poverty rate fell to 40.6% in the first half of 2021, from 42% previously, in a country of 45 million people rich in natural resources, from livestock to corn to gas. natural, but plagued by inflation, mismanaged economics and years of cyclical debt crises.
âSometimes we can only eat a limited amount. We don’t indulge in luxury but, well thank goodness we don’t starve,â said his wife Maria Eugenia Gonzalez de Rodriguez, 39, who works in a municipal cooperative to clean storm sewers. in the neighborhood.
“Sometimes we have enough and sometimes not,” she added. âWe manage on a day-to-day basis.
In his spare time, Rodriguez teaches football to children and young people from poor families, so that they can aspire to the professional career he once dreamed of as escaping poverty.
“I love being with the boys and I come to do it without any obligation and without any salary. I do it out of passion, because the truth is that this is what keeps me going every day,” he said. he declares.
Reporting by Miguel Lo Bianco and Claudia Martini; Written by Lucila Sigal; Editing by Adam Jourdan, Alistair Bell and Sandra Maler
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