Eneko Andueza (Eibar, 1979) says that he is a politician and fond of bullfighting thanks to his grandfather Mauricio, who instilled in him the socialist values and bullfighting of Paco Camino.
At 41, he is the spokesman for the Socialist Parliamentary Group in the Basque Parliament, and is about to publish a book entitled “The bulls, from the left”, in which he vindicates the festival from the perspective of his ideological position.
“Bullfighting is a very important part of my life,” he says proudly. “For me, it is a way of being, a philosophy, a way of understanding existence in line with very specific principles and values.”
Andueza is aware that he is a unique case, a heterodox character, a politician against the mainstream, and acknowledges that he has been alerted that his love of bullfighting could harm his political career.
“It is necessary to highlight the relevance that bullfighting has had in the thinking of the left”
“Yes, they have told me, but I don’t understand life without getting involved in what I believe. I consider myself a militant bullfighting. They say that I play the hamstrings to defend bullfighting, but I only play it for two reasons: for my ideals, when for 10 years I have had an escort for being from the PSOE in Euskadi, and for my fans, in front of the bull in the running of the bulls in Pamplona. In life you have to take risks to achieve your dreams ”.
Andueza’s vocation is politics, which he entered the Socialist Youth at age 17; Graduated in Political Science and Administration, he has been a councilor in Ordizia, and is currently the general secretary of the PSE-EE of Guipúzcoa and spokesman for the socialist parliamentary group of the Basque Parliament.
And his hobby is bulls. He has never aspired to be a bullfighter, although he dreams of a primitive millionaire who allows him to be a rancher. For now, the closest he has been to the bull has been in the San Fermin bull runs and in the groping squares of some friends, where he has endured, crutch in hand, the gaze of a calf.
And, now, he has dared to go out into the ring with a book, “The bulls, from the left” …
“I thought about it some time ago, following some decisions by representatives of my party. I considered that it was necessary to highlight the relevance that bullfighting has had in the thinking of the left, and to highlight the role of the festival in history, the economy and its relationship with fundamental values. And I do it with a pedagogical purpose; without the intention of convincing anyone, I only intend to provide arguments so that the complex that many have about bulls disappears ”.
Andueza dedicates the first chapter, entitled ‘Bullfighting is freedom’, to a historical journey through the 20th century and the close relationships that have existed between bulls and the left; and the seven following to argue the values that, in his opinion, define it: equality, solidarity, environmentalism, social economy, feminist struggle, internationalist and culture.
– But the complex remains, and, perhaps, the first party that drags it is yours …
– “The left itself dissociates certain values from reality, and that is a mistake. And it has done so with social conquests that have been achieved thanks to bullfighting. Not recognizing it is a sign that there is a certain complex on the left in general. I do not think it is incompatible to be a voter of Podemos, Izquierda Unida or PSOE and a fan of bullfighting. Not because you are on the left you have to declare yourself animalistic or anti-bullfighting, because this shows that many people lack a mature personality.
– It is assumed, then, that the party is not right-wing either …
“Going to the bulls is one of the most progressive activities that can be done in life”
– “The attempt by parties linked to the right to make the party patrimonial has been another reason for writing this book. Sometimes we say that the party is not left or right, and I believe, on the contrary, that it belongs to both. That makes it unique, and makes it an element of social cohesion; for this reason, it would be very unfair to pigeonhole it in a certain political tendency ”.
Eneko Andueza maintains that bullfighting belongs to the people since its origins, back in the 16th century, when the popular classes rebelled against the nobility and claimed their active participation and protagonism. “That is the beginning of the link between the bullfighting festival with the left, when the people make it their own,” emphasizes the politician.
– Circumstances have changed, and today it is not well seen to be an amateur and a member of the military in a left-wing party …
– “In some cases it is like that, but I have already said that it is a mistake: What’s more: I think that one of the most progressive activities that can be done in this life is going to the bulls; even transgressor. It’s tremendous, but that’s the way it is ”.
The author of the book expresses his satisfaction because the prologue is signed by his friend and also a fan Carmen Calvo, First Vice President of the Government.
“Carmen Calvo has been one of the people who has defended the bullfighting sector with the greatest determination in the Council of Ministers,” he says.
– And the Minister of Culture?
– “I think that at first I did not know what the bullfighting festival means for our country, which makes me think that the festival lacks a solid structure to access certain political layers and to tell society about its impact on the economy , the culture and history of our country ”.
– How do you assess the current government’s position on bullfighting?
– “It is not a question only of this Government, but of all those that have existed since democracy was established. Bullfighting has been treated unfairly by all of them. They have not recognized the place it deserves nor have they approved an item in the General State Budgets in accordance with its economic and social importance. I hope that the bridges that have been opened between the Ministry of Culture and the Toro de Lidia Foundation allow a change of mentality, and that from now on the role it represents in the heritage of Spain will be recognized ”.
– By the way, do you plan to give the book to Pedro Sánchez?
– “Of course. The president has always given me a lot of respect for the party; and on some occasion he has told me that neither in the thinking of the Government nor of the PSOE there is the possibility of attacking or prohibiting it ”.
– Do you really believe that the bullfighting festival has a future?
– “It will be if we are all capable of understanding something fundamental: without authenticity there is no emotion; without truth there is no future. Perhaps that is why I defend the integral bull as the fundamental axis of the show. Regarding bullfighters, I like anyone who is capable of carrying luck, who fights while breastfeeding and really faces a brave bull. That said, I recognize that there is a bullfighter who has lifted me from my seat and whom I admire for the sacrifice he has made to get where he is, and his name is Diego Urdiales ”.
– Does your book have a dedication?
– “I dedicate it to my grandfather Mauricio. Who else … “