The “Morando Law” was unable to impose its conditions, and the commission that was expected to meet was never assembled. The cooperative asked the Head of Government at the time, Jorge Telerman, to veto the regulation, but the functionary limited himself to not enforcing it and presenting a bill that modified it, which was never approved. In practice, this situation meant abandoning the Legislature of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires as the place to attempt to settle the conflict, which was transferred to the judicial sphere and to the Congress of the Nation. In these two environments, in ways that sometimes ran parallel and sometimes crossed over, the future of the BAUEN would play out over the following years.
The newspaper Clarín’s more and more accented drift towards “war journalism,” which is on full display today, was already reflected in its coverage of the issue of the BAUEN, on which it took the side of Mercoteles.1 In an article on January 9th, 2006, dedicated to a “defining time” that had supposedly arrived for the hotel, it made a show of listening to both sides, and gave a voice to the Iurcoviches, putting the position of the workers on par with that of the phantom enterprise. The article began by affirming that, because time was up, Telerman should promulgate the law or veto it, as a way to pressure him to force a definition. For context, this was a time when the new Head of Government, following the destitution of Aníbal Ibarra, had to strike a complicated political balance between the macrista majority in the Municipal Legislature, the [progressive] national government of Néstor Kirchner, and his own political ambitions of continuing in the position once his interim period was up. Reluctant to play, he left everything in limbo. Similarly, Mercoteles’ agent, Gerardo Palomero,2 declared that “the law reaches a fair agreement and recognizes that the hotel has an owner,” and went on to affirm that “the court (…) ordered the restitution of the hotel to Mercoteles, but asked for the return of the four million pesos. It is a minor point. The important thing is that the court recognizes that it belongs to Mercoteles.” The controversy was already underway, and what had been until then a conflict that took place in judicial and legislative environments began to also be engaged in public opinion and the media. It had been engaged on the street, of course, since March 21, 2003.
The workers then decided to try for expropriation in the National Congress, given that the paths had been closed in the legislature of Buenos Aires. Until then, no recovered business had gone through the process of expropriation there, only in provincial parliaments. It started a much longer path than workers surely imagined when they decided to try it.
- “A defining week for the future of the Hotel Bauen,” Clarín, 9 January 2006. Recovered from https://www.clarin.com/ediciones-anteriores/semana-definiciones-futuro-hotel-bauen_0_HkmfVU810Yl.html↩
- Remember that, in the editorial of the 28 of June of 2005 in the newspaper La Nación, Palomero signed as agent of Bauen SACIC.↩