Guest blogger!

From time to time I mention Argentina here. Some of you may be starting to get tired of hearing me go on and on (and on) about Argentina, so tonight I’ll give you a break and we’ll hear from someone else about Argentina.

Last year my parents took a trip south to visit my cousin, who lives in Buenos Aires. I thought “what the heck” and recommended that they stay at a hotel that has been worker-owned since its employees took it over after it closed during the economic collapse. To my surprise and delight, they did, and they really liked it. And even better, my dad took the bait. So without any further ado, I give you Donald McLeod, in his first blog post ever

My dad and some fancy retro Argentine decor

My dad and some fancy retro Argentine decor

I read with interest about the occupation of the Republic Door and Window facility by its employees who simply won’t take “but, we’re out of business” as a reason to slink away to the unemployment line. Each layoff at and each closure of businesses has different sources and characteristics so there is no one solution to be taken by employees when faced with this personal disaster.

We recently visited Buenos Aires, Argentina and stayed in a great 20-story downtown hotel called the BAUEN. While one would not mistake the BAUEN for a Marriott, the presentation, service and amenities are certainly up to snuff for most travelers. And the rates seemed to be below average. The décor is a very good 70’s period study with swag lamps, formica countertops and naughahyde furniture. There is a lower level discotheque, a bar and café adjacent to the main lobby and an included buffet breakfast. The place was bustling with a medical conference leaving the day we arrived.

But the real reason to stay at the BAUEN is that it closed in 2001 due to country-wide financial problems with the peso’s value. The workers then took it over with no real legal basis and 150 of them are still there offering excellent accommodations and service. There is a threatening federal eviction notice over their heads, but the cooperative of employees say they would create a huge popular uprising if enforced. I believe they would do just that. They have a street level bookstore well-stocked with all manner of workers of the world and revolutionary books and an office in the basement that seems to be a main supplier of banners, literature and DVD’s for the progressive workers’ movement.

The best website for more info is here.

Also, the hotel has a website.

The next time you are in Buenos Aires, I recommend that you stay at the BAUEN. I guarantee it will be a lively experience.

Here's my mom enjoying brunch and a little propaganda

Here's my mom enjoying brunch and a little propaganda

They are still petitioning to gain legal ownership

They are still petitioning to gain legal ownership

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