Feb. 28 - Sky rocketing inflation and currency devaluation take toll on Argentina's poor. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
They line up for food at this soup kitchen in Buenos Aires. With food prices soaring it's the only way Alejandro Monzon can make ends meet. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) ALEJANDRO MONZON, SAYING: "I started coming not long ago. It doesn't make such a big difference and at least it balances things out to make ends meet. As I said it helps me to pay taxes (light, gas and water bills). Now that the school period is about to start, to be able to buy school supplies, uniforms for the children. (Reporter asks: Coming here helps?) Yes, it helps a little bit otherwise I'm unable to make ends meet." He is not alone. A sharp currency devaluation in Argentina last month pushed up inflation, threatening to unravel a generous social safety net at the heart of President Cristina Fernandez's economic policies. As social spending boomed along with the economy over much of the past decade, Monzon was one of millions of Argentines who benefited. He moved into a bigger government-built apartment and found a job at a supermarket that helped him buy a car and even a flat-screen TV. But with inflation running in double digit numbers that lifestyle is no longer sustainable -- for Monzon and millions of others learning to do without.