The Argentine Catholic Church has stood out strongly on the controversy that has followed President Cristina Fernandez statement before the FAO assembly in Rome arguing that poverty in Argentina is below 5%, which was later made superlative by her spokesperson and cabinet chief Anibal Fernandez arguing that poverty in Argentina was less than in Germany or Denmark.
The Argentine Catholic University Social Debt Observatory findings of 2013 are correct, poverty in Argentina is in the range of 25%, said Monsignor Jose Arancedo, head of the Argentine Episcopate.
He added we need statistics and they must be for a task of great respect when elaborating the objective numbers, because they refer to all of us and serve to plan a country. Actually the Social Debt Observatory measurement dating back to 2013 established that poverty in Argentina was 27.5%.
Argentine government sources have said that any discrepancy with figures must be attributed to the new stats system to measure poverty, and effectively under this new methodology it is below 5%.
Likewise an Argentine family of four needed last May to have an income of 6.154 Pesos to be above the poverty line, according to FIEL, the Latin American Economic Research Foundation. This is equivalent to 683 US dollars according to the official exchange rate and 492 dollars in the so called blue or black market.
The 6.154 Pesos are described as the Total Food Basket (CBT) which represents the poverty line. However there is a second Basic Food Basket (CBA) which refers to the indigence level and stands at 3.323 Pesos or 370 and 265 US dollars.
According to Fiel, CBA was up 0.2% in May and CBT, 1%, and in the last twelve months, CBA increased 19,3% and CBT, 24%.
Adding to the controversy, the head of Argentina's much devalued Stats office, Indec, Norberto Itzcovich and who supplied the new methodology of below 5% (more precisely 4.7%) which was mentioned by president Cristina Fernández, pointed out that cabinet chief Anibal Fernandez statements on 'less poverty than in Germany, were nonsense' since they could not be compared.