In 2001, the government of Argentina had gone far past maxing out their credit, the peso dropped, and the country plunged into economic free-fall. The wealthy fled the country carrying footlockers full of U.S. dollars.
In the years following World War II, this incredibly fertile land was called, “the world’s granary.” Enormous agricultural surpluses were shipped all the way to Europe.
Following the collapse of the 2001, locally-grown food became worth far more on the international market than at home, and the agricultural heavy-hitters simply shipped all the food out of the country. In poorer parts of Argentina, this resulted in empty store shelves and literal starvation. In 2002, British newspaper The Guardian reported:
Children are dying daily of malnutrition in Argentina as a result of the catastrophic economic crisis in the world’s fourth biggest exporter of food.
In the past week, images of stunted, emaciated children have scandalised Argentina, long known as the grainstore of the world.
Meanwhile the vast, fertile country has increased exports of meat, wheat, corn and soya this year.
Some of the children pictured in north-eastern Tucuman province had the bloated stomachs, blotchy skin and dry hair associated with severe protein deficiency…
…parents admitted to feeding their babies and infants with sugary green tea instead of milk or food, which they often cannot afford.
Four of the children who died there last week, aged between two and six, weighed under 10kg [22 lb.].
“I hardly had any breast milk” said 24-year-old Roxana de Benedetti, whose five-year-old son Hector died three weeks ago in Villa La Carmela, a shanty town… and whose six-month-old daughter Milagros, who weighs only 2.8kg (just over 6lb), is in the children’s hospital in Tucuman.
“They told me I needed fortified milk powder, but [I can’t afford it]. Thank God they’ll give it to her in there.”
In a surreal outburst of denial, an Argentinian official quoted in the article said, “We are not Biafra.”