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BAUEN, day 62

Chapter 9

Macrismo takes the stage: the “Morando Law”

While the judicial minuet was going on behind the scenes, the BAUEN workers were confronted with a more concrete threat. After the Cromagnon massacre (see sidebar, below), the product of systematic and long-standing corruption between the business community and the government of the City of Buenos Aires, the highly sensitive issue of safety at shows became the excuse to close numerous recreational spaces that had been open to the public. In the case of the BAUEN, it served to ask for the cessation of economic activities by the cooperative due to insufficient conditions. To top it off, the complaint came from the building around the corner, the BAUEN Suite. During the first months of 2005, just when the hotel was becoming stabilized under cooperative management, there were two attempts to close it. Inspectors from the Government of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires arrived at the hotel March 17th, 2005, and were expelled by the workers. The same thing happened April 8th.

Again, on June 5th, 2005, still under Aníbal Ibarra as Head of Government, who was reeling from the consequences of Cromagnon (it would cost him the position some months later), the BAUEN workers would face a more serious attempt at administrative closure by the GCBA. The episode was filmed from beginning to end by the attentive camera of Fabián Pierucci, of the Alavío Group, who included the whole scene in his documentary. “The State knows, the police know, that the recovered businesses lack official conditions, but in spite of that, we’ve been enhancing safety, with the means we have… we were very responsible,” Marcelo Ruarte, then president of the cooperative, told the microphones the day of the operation.

At that point, another front opened in the battle. The city government of Buenos Aires, which never had found anything outside the rules that merited closure during the Iurcoviches’ administration (or Solari’s), suddenly seemed to be very concerned about the safety conditions at the hotel. It was the first time since the establishment of worker management that functionaries of the City Government collaborated with the Iurcoviches to harass the cooperative. Curiously and contradictorily, a short time later, a program that was created by the government specifically to give subsidies to recovered businesses gave them financing to improve safety measures.

A couple of years later, under Mauricio Macri, those contradictions would disappear. The whole city government of Buenos Aires would be hostile to the cooperative.


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