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BAUEN, day 10

Prayers and WhatsApp messages

Irrazábal asks for the floor: “Aware of how late it is, and of the imminent possibility of the loss of parliamentary status of a half-sanctioned bill that comes unanimously approved by the Chamber of Deputies, I am going to request that the work plan be modified.” The proposal is received with murmurs and agitation by the opposition Senators, but the vote takes place, after a certain stalling by Michetti. The result is favorable: 42 to 17.

Outside, there is a happy commotion, but also nervousness, because there was very little time left for voting.

At that moment, Federico recalls:

Silvina Irrazábal and I were exchanging messages by WhatsApp with Juanchi Irrazábal on the other side of the wall, from within the chamber, and also out with Fabio [Resino, leader of FACTA] to keep the compañeros informed. And Eva, I remember perfectly, was praying, between sobs, with her hands clasped, sitting in her chair while we were exchanging messages. And there too, a fellow that works in the Senate joined us, Oscar Leguizamón, who stayed with us, watching the last moves live. This was all half an hour before the bell rang.

Eva’s prayers, Federico’s messages, Senator Irrazábal’s skill in managing the situation and, above all, the justice of the BAUEN workers’ cause, all converged in what came next. Gabriela Michetti, presiding over the session as Vice-President, showed her usual incompetence and tried to delay the debate. Some Senators intervened and tried to vote individually to use up time, as Irrazábal was saying that they should vote on the whole package for the obvious reason of the time limit.

Outside, the crowd had moved from the corner to the door of the Senate, on Hipólito Yrigoyen Street, where traffic had been flowing until it was blocked by the number of people gathered. There was a line of cops blocking the door. Little groups had formed around a few people who had managed to use their cellphones to pull in the Senate TV channel that was transmitting the session live. Silence fell all around as the debate went on. Everyone kept an eye on their watches.


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