Thoughts on Argentina's Conjunctures :: Recuperating Work, Recovering Life (2005-2007)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Bauen Hotel fights for a temporary permit of expropriation

From a web cafe next to the Hotel Bauen, Calle Callao, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Hundreds of social justice supporters were on hand outside the Bauen Hotel yesterday afternoon in solidarity with the hotel workers in their fight with the city of Buenos Aires's legislature to be recognized as an officially expropriated enterprise (see: Pagina/12´s Thurs. Jul., 12, 2005 article "Otra marcha por el Bauen". Also see Indymedia Argentina's two recent reports on the matter: BAUEN: 7 de julio, todos a la Legislatura por la ocupación and Intento de clausura del Hotel Bauen Cooperativa). The hotel's staff of 150 self-managed workers, together with the supporters and federal government deputy Patricia Walsh, daughter of the famed disappeared reporter and author Roberto Walsh, eventually marched to the porteño city's legislative buildings where the hotel workers' case for temporary expropriation recognition was slated to be heard. The Bauen´s workers are fighting for the hotel's right to exist as a cooperative, a legal designation the hotel still does not hold. The previous owners of the hotel, Bauen Sacic, are seeking to regain control of the hotel under the legal rubric of being "original proprietors of the hotel" (Pagina/12).

The Bauen workers have been seeking to be recognized as an official cooperative in order to be able to run the hotel without harassment from city officials and the Federal Police. These past few weeks have been tense for Bauen workers. On July 14, several city officials with Federal Police in tow raided the building and sought to close it down and evict the employees due to unspecified "security reasons" (Pagina/12). According to Indymedia Argentina, at the time the Bauen was fully booked with over 400 guests staying in its 160 rooms. In addition, five theatrical events were playing at the hotel catering to the winter break demand for entertainment in Buenos Aires's theatre district.

Just about an hour ago I went to the Bauen for dinner and everything seemed normal. The lobby was humming with activity and the cafe was catering to dozens of guests.

The fledgling hotel cooperative announced that a festival to support the workers´struggles to be recognized as an official cooperative will be held on Thurs. July 28 at 1 pm in front of the Buenos Aires legislative buildings on the corner of Peru and Avenida de Mayo.

I also discuss the Bauen briefly in my July 9 post.

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