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BAUEN, day 52

A hotel underway

At the beginning of 2006, a little more than a year after the visit of the Venezuelan orchestra, the BAUEN hotel was fully functioning. As an article in Lavaca documents, it had grown “from 35 to 140 members, who keep the hotel operating 24 hours a day: the auditorium, the coffeeshop, the bookstore, and the event rooms. Theater works, radio broadcasting with a large audience, musical performances, and art exhibitions were part of the programming in 2005. It was also the headquarters of international events, like the art exhibition Ex Argentina, organized by the Goethe Institut, or the Cultural Fair organized by the Embassy of Venezuela.”1

The growth was staggering, but certainly explainable by the sacrifice and imagination of the members of the cooperative to reconstruct and also create their jobs. Rooms were rented, events were housed, guests were received, but spaces were also used and opportunities discovered. One example was the creation of a press area, which was responsible for the managing public relations and disseminating the development of the cooperative in a political and social sense over and above the commercial sense. The one led the “BAUEN press,” and contributed enormously to giving the recovered hotel part of the global fame it has was Federico Tonarelli, one of the current leaders of the cooperative and president of the Argentine Federation of Self-Managed Worker Cooperatives (FACTA), which, since its formation in those same years, is chaired by the BAUEN cooperative.

Federico was an activist who collaborated actively with the MNER even before joining the BAUEN, and who accompanied Fabio Resino in the development of the cooperative since early 2005. Soon, he was in charge of the press relations and also, with his father, Juan Carlos Tonarelli, of managing the reactivation of the old print shop in the hotel to be able guarantee the printing and photocopying that the ever-more complex administration of the BAUEN demanded. Tonarelli senior had his own history in the old cooperative movement, and after a time of “softening up,” they convinced him to install his copy center within the hotel. “So, Fabio (Resino) tells me ‘the BAUEN had a print shop—why don’t you come with your old man and set up the printing press there, in the hotel?’, tells Federico, who explains:

I came by one day to see about that, because I already knew the hotel. I showed up, we saw the basement, and it was perfect. There was an old copier left, a Rotaprint. So Marcelo (Ruarte) says “c’mon, Fede, tell your old man, convince him.”

  1. “The factories recovered by their workers. Case study: the Hotel Bauen (city of Buenos Aires),” Lavaca, 23 of March of 2006. Recovered from

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