The struggle moves to the legislature
The expropriation bill that Marcelo Ruarte mentioned was presented to the Legislature of the City of Buenos Aires by Diego Kravetz, a legislator and also the cooperative’s lawyer, although due to his position in the Parliament of Buenos Aires, the representation of the cooperative was being covered by his sister Florencia.
The tool of expropriation laws had already been used widely to be able to legally consolidate the recovery of businesses and factories of widely varying kinds by their workers. The first cases took place in the province of Buenos Aires and, since 2002, in the City. The first examples were Chilavert and Vieytes (a supplier for ice-cream shops), in October of that year. It didn’t take long for others to arrive, and thirteen were finally grouped into Law 1529/2004, presented by Kravetz himself, who had already been a Deputy for a year. He had entered as a legislator on a list of national deputy candidates headed by Miguel Bonasso, and was soon added to the bloc of the Front for Victory, which was in the hands of the Head of the Cabinet at the time, Alberto Fernández. Kravetz’s relationship with the MNER, which had been his trampoline to electoral victory, but which he was now looking to detach from, became tense. In spite of that, they reached an agreement on the presentation of that bill, which called for “definitive expropriation,” to differentiate it from the previous laws, which were for temporary occupancy of two years.
The bill consisted of grouping all the recovered businesses that were protected by these temporary laws (the oldest, like Chilavert, were reaching the end of their time) into a collective law. That also meant negotiation with the other faction the movement had split into, led by lawyer Luis Caro, whose bill encompassed only five cooperatives, which were members of his organization. The “Kravetz law,” as he himself called it, finally included all of them. Law 1529 anticipated that the severance payment (mandated in the Constitution for all expropriations) would be made by the GCBA, but then repaid by the benefitted cooperative, with a two-year grace period and then another 20 to pay the amount in installments, at the end of which it would become the owner of the assets. For more than a decade, the law was barely enforced, and few expropriations were paid. But the cooperatives were able to find some legal coverage. Others cases were added to the law later, and the extensions that were approved by the legislature twice were both vetoed by Macri as Head of Government, beginning a custom which would culminate in a Presidential veto on December 26th, 2016.