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BAUEN, day 88

Demonstrations of support for the cooperative also continued to grow at the local level. Personalities like Osvaldo Bayer and Quino spoke out, together with hundreds of political leaders and intellectuals. The 15th and 16th of April, the Social and Political Book Fair was held in the BAUEN, where stands of independent and self-managed publishers were set up in solidarity with the workers. The flags and T-shirts of the BAUEN were seen at demonstrations, recitals, stadiums, and the players of the Atlanta soccer club [of Buenos Aires] even came out on to the field with the black t-shirt of the cooperative, posing before the game with a sign that said “The BAUEN is everyone’s.” This powerful series of activities culminated with a large festival in front of the doors of the hotel, with a crowd that agreed to support to the workers, and also to listen to musical groups like La Berisso and Ataque 77, who played long into the night of May 28, 2014, and covered the whole block on Callao avenue with people.

Meanwhile, the Iurcoviches did not sit idly by. Like never before, they dedicated themselves to an intense propaganda campaign, in a way that is normally not seen in the cases of most recovered businesses. This included posters around town, a web page (“The truth about the BAUEN”) and the considerable help of some media, especially the newspaper Clarín. More and more openly, the media took the side of the Iurcoviches.

An article from March 27 was titled “Police ordered to evict the BAUEN, occupied for 11 years.” A subtitle underscored that “the hotel would return to the hands of the business that controlled it until 2001.” Even though the headline ignored the nature of the recovered business, and instead talked about an “occupied” hotel, it also abandoned any attempt to hide that the buyers and owners of the site, according to the judge, are really the same ones that bankrupted it in 2001. And it explained that “in 1997, a Chilean group, Solari SA, bought the BAUEN, but went broke in 2001, and transferred the hotel to Mercoteles, a company that, according to workers, is connected to the original owners.” As we have already seen, Solari did not transfer anything to Mercoteles, but to Bauen SA. And, strictly speaking, he did not transfer anything – it was a resolution by Judge Fabier Dubois that did so. Also, Clarín takes pains to reflect the “desire (of Mercoteles) to preserve jobs.” Therefore, it affirmed that the business would contact the workers to add them to the new phase.

It is worth noting the language used to explain the bankruptcy of the hotel in private hands: it was “dragged down by the crisis.” After having used the headlibe “The crisis causes two new deaths” to describe the murders of Darío Santillán and Maximiliano Kosteki on the Pueyrredón Bridge June 26, 2002, the allusion is, at best, a poor choice. This is all the more true because those who “dragged down” the hotel are the same ones that, as this book went to press, still want it back.


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