In María Eva’s story, we also hear the emotion of that entry, something that hadn’t even been a dream months before. But we also hear the concern for the state the facilities were in. There was electricity, but the neglect was significant. “The only thing that made us happy was that we had lights. Otherwise, was everything a disaster—dirty, abandoned, no furniture, boarded up. We made a hole in the boards to be able go out to Callao street.” Marcelo Ruarte also describes the state of the hotel as “a nest of rats and cockroaches,” which is why the neighbors were actually happy about the occupation, because the workers would remove that source of infestation from the block.
Marcelo Iurcovich’s intention was obviously not to leave the hotel abandoned, but to wait for a change in the economic situation of the country to decide whether to put it back in service, sell it, or do some other kind of business. This, of course, could not be established in any statement of his, but rather, from his actions. Because, while he had supposedly not been in possession of the Bauen since 1997, the connection with the BAUEN Suite around the corner was as obvious as the ease with which the workers and the MNER had been able to cross the passage between the two buildings. The furniture on the Callao side had been taken out through the Suite, which is why when the hotel was occupied, one of the conditions for reopening was putting back all that was lacking. And, importantly, Iurcvich had pulled his umpteenth slight of hand, in which the ownership of the hotel was back in his hands under yet another business name, Mercoteles, a decisive issue we will return to later.
Any doubt about the relationship that Marcelo Iurcovich had with the BAUEN was cleared up shortly after the workers occupied the building. The police report about the takeover of the hotel was written at the BAUEN Suite. The businessman himself showed up at the hotel accompanied by the police. “The police came with Iurcovich,” relates María Eva. “Not just any police—the Commissioner was there, the sub-commissioner, the highest ranks.” Also with them was the bankruptcy trustee, who had no choice but to ratify that the intruders “were us, the former workers, that we’d been after them to pay us, that they knew us well.” María Eva continues:
We explained our points of view to them, because the compañeros of the MNER had prepared us. The trustee also showed up, and we told him to do an inventory of what they had left and compare it with the one done on the day of the closure. The commissioner asked him if he knew us. He told him yes. Diego Kravetz (at that time, the MNER’s lawyer1) was detained for several hours, and that was all for the moment.
- Diego Kravetz was the MNER’s lawyer and activist in business recovery at the time. Soon after this, he became a Deputy in the legislature of Buenos Aires for the Party of the Democratic Revolution, led by Miguel Bonasso. His political career rather quickly led him to abandon not only the issue of recovered businesses, but also his ability to distiguish between various political stances, drifting from supporting Kirchner to the Frente Renovator, and finally winding up as Secretary of Security to the Mayor of Lanús, Néstor Grindetti, of the PRO. In that political cartwheeling, he went from being arrested for occupying businesses to being an “expert in insecurity.”↩