Government Considers Enlisting Troops in Mexico's Fight Against Hunger
Emilio Godoy - Inter Press Service
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April 6, 2013

Cruzada Contra el Hambre (Sin Hambre)

MEXICO CITY - The Mexican government is considering using the armed forces, which face serious human rights accusations from their involvement in the war on drugs, to collect socioeconomic data from the low-income households that will benefit from the National Crusade Against Hunger.

Government sources told IPS that the advantage is that the army has the logistical capacity to collect the information, since it has bases and detachments in the regions where the 400 municipalities selected for the anti-hunger programme, announced by President Enrique Peña Nieto a few weeks before he took office on Dec. 1, are located.

There are also enough soldiers, as the armed forces have 210,000 troops, of whom about 70,000 are taking part in the war on drug trafficking, according to the defence ministry.

The government’s aim is to verify that people are effectively eligible to apply for the social programmes, in order to keep the rolls from being inflated, as it presumes happened during the government of former president Felipe Calderón (2006-2012).

The National Crusade Against Hunger is to meet the needs of 7.4 million people living in extreme poverty and with severe nutritional deficits. Some 3.7 million of these people live in urban areas, and the rest live in the countryside.

In Mexico at least 52 million people out of the total population of nearly 117 million live below the poverty line, 11.7 million of them in extreme poverty, and 28 million do not have enough food.

Read the rest at Inter Press Service

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