A complicated year
The expropriation bill presented by Deputy Carlos Heller and merged with four similar bills had recently been approved at a particularly delicate time for the country, when the [left-leaning] Kirchner government was on the way out, and [right-wing] Mauricio Macri was about to win the day in the second round of Presidential elections.
From the point of view of a recovered business like the BAUEN, the ideal thing would have been to end up approving the law before December 10, 2015, to be signed by still-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, and thereby avoid the risk of a veto by the new president, who already had a history of doing exactly that as the Head of Government of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires. The bill had managed to pass the Chamber of Deputies, but the Senators had not yet addressed it.
The year that followed was marked by the advance of the neoliberal agenda and a style of government rarely seen in democratically elected authorities: trying to avoid Parliament, abusing Decrees of Necessity and Urgency (even to modify or nullify laws, like the Law of Audiovisual Communication Services), pressuring legislators by manipulating provincial budgets, etc.
A brutal rate hike on electricity, gas, and water services was imposed, which would soon not only affect homes, but small and medium businesses, and we could even say industry in general. Popular resistance began to organize, and one of the main examples was the Multisectorial Against the Rate Hike, which began to meet, like so many other people’s struggles, at the BAUEN. In spite of facing social demonstrations that were large at times, the government dug in and appeared extremely firm, with remarkable control of the situation throughout 2016.