Jose Maria Garzon (Seville, 1972), a current bullfighting character, confesses that he is a hurt man. He was the businessman who organized the bullfight held last day 6 in the Plaza de El Puerto de Santa María as a result of which the Junta de Andalucía modified the regulations of bullfighting festivities that have given the finishing touch to the season in the Autonomous Community. Since then, not only can half of the capacity be sold, but it is mandatory to keep a meter and a half of distance between the spectators, which reduces the number of spectators and ends the profitability of the show.
The El Puerto bullfight marked a before and after in the bullfighting year; the images led to believe that more tickets had been sold than allowed. Garzón was the object of sharp criticism inside and outside the sector, and today, as time has passed, he acknowledges that “they have been the worst days of my professional life because my honor and dignity have been questioned, which is the most important thing I have. ; that run has hurt me, it has caused me many headaches and sleepless nights. It has hurt me a lot ”.
Garzón already issued a profuse note in which he had the numerous health measures that were adopted on the occasion of the bullfight, a whole contingency plan coordinated with the Government Delegation of the Board in Cádiz and the Portuense City Council “to guarantee scrupulous compliance with current regulations”.
“It was the run that cost me the most effort,” says the businessman; “My team worked hard to make it a success, as it was, and the proof of this is that eleven days before the ‘no tickets’ sign was hung, I fulfilled the authority’s demands in excess, and I do not understand the criticisms that I’ve received”.
“The best news is that there has been no outbreak of the epidemic in a bullring”
José María Garzón offers a detailed list of all the measures taken that afternoon (masks, temperature measurement, Red Cross service, a field hospital, Civil Protection, hostess services and private security, etc.) and the supporting documentation of each of them; Among these, the most important: that only 5,431 tickets were sold out of a total capacity of 11,000 spectators, despite the fact that some images of the show could reflect what seemed like an apparent full house.
“I can send you photos that say otherwise,” replies the businessman. “But the most important thing is that I can show that more measures were adopted than those required by the norm and that the criticisms have been unfair.”
Garzón refers, especially, to those directed by his own business association, ANOET, which publicly announced the opening of a sanctioning file, and the businessman from Ronda, Rivera Ordóñez, who secretly accused him of being the cause of the suspension of the Goyesque bullfight.
“The ANOET file has no justification in substance or form,” says the businessman. “The organization has not been correct because before accusing (in our country it is frequently accused without proof) you have to ask and know; and I hope that I am apologized publicly. I respect the criticisms of a colleague, but I think they are unfounded; everyone should be responsible for their words, and I am convinced that in Ronda I would have had the same problem that I had in El Puerto ”.
“The most important news”, continues Garzón, “is that, until now, there has been no outbreak of the epidemic due to any bullfighting celebration, which would show that we businessmen have acted correctly. I am not a sanitary, but I think that outdoors, with masks and the other measures adopted, the level of contagion is very low ”.
– The truth, however, is that the Junta de Andalucía modifies the conditions as a result of the El Puerto bullfight and in practice reduces the number of celebrations …
– “I don’t know the reason for the change of criteria; that question should be raised with the Andalusian Government. I do not legislate, nor am I responsible for the rules. I dedicate myself to work ”.
– The truth is that that bullfight started on the wrong foot because it was the trigger for Paco Ureña to decide to break the seizure contract he had with you.
– “Yes, it was a bad start. But I’m not going to talk about the reasons because they are personal issues. We differ in the way of thinking. I have always defended the independence between the employer and the attorney, but I respect the decision of the bullfighter, whom I admire and wish the best ”.
“Only the Board knows why it has modified the criteria on the celebration of celebrations”
– But it is to be supposed that Paco Ureña would have liked to be on that poster of El Puerto …
– “I imagine, surely …”
– It should be concluded that this break has been a blur in his career as a proxy.
– “Rather, it is the consequence of a path that I carry forward. I act according to the dictates of my conscience and I have it calm. In this case, more than an error, I would speak of two different ways of thinking ”.
– By the way, have you made money from the El Puerto bullfight?
– “No, but I haven’t lost either. I don’t think any businessman will make a profit this year ”.
– Presumably the cattle rancher Juan Pedro Domecq and the bullfighters Enrique Ponce, Morante de la Puebla and Pablo Aguado, would collect 50 percent of their usual emoluments.
– “Yes, they charged less, of course they did. I do not know if fifty percent less, because I do not know what they received in other years, but all of them showed a good disposition about it. I had also said that I would lower the cost of the tickets and I complied. The price dropped an average of 21 percent, when many voices advised me otherwise from the conviction that the paper would run out at the box office, as it was ”.
Businessman from Córdoba, Santander, Las Rozas, Torrejón de Ardoz, Granada and, in 2020, from El Puerto, José María Garzón acknowledges that this is being “a very hard year for me, due to the epidemic, which has truncated an exciting season, the break with Paco Ureña, which has affected me personally, and what happened in El Puerto, which has questioned my honor, that I am not going to lose it ”.
“I’m just a person who knows how to work,” he continues, “and my duty is to organize bulls, as I am going to try in Córdoba before the end of the year, if the health situation allows it.”
-Do you think your image has been damaged by this whole affair?
– “I don’t think that whoever knows me has changed their opinion about me. If someone thinks that I have not acted correctly, I invite you to inform yourself beforehand. No file has been opened to my company and no sanction is imposed on it. I have already told you: the structure of the El Puerto bullfight was brutal, we fully complied with the rules, and only the Board will know why it has modified the criteria for holding bullfighting celebrations ”.