There are many fans who, at the height of this pandemic year, do not leave their amazement at the almost absolute paralysis of the season. And they are not without reason.
Once the state of alarm has ended and the regulations of each autonomous community for the opening of the bullrings have been published, it is not easy to understand that the world of the bull remains confined as in the middle of May.
Confined and silent, with very rare exceptions.
The Fundación del Toro de Lidia has her mouth shut, after sticking out her chest after the bland meetings with the Minister of Culture and several regional presidents, who bullfighting with panache and bravado, and with the unanimous applause of some representatives who, quite rightly, should have shown their indignation, instead of smiles and kind nudges, for the contempt and mistreatment with which politicians from all walks of life often treat the bullfighting festival.
Today, Spain should be covered in bullfighting posters
His mouth is closed Victorino Martín, who on June 6 expressed in this newspaper his belief that celebrations could be held normally after the state of alarm.
The bullfighters do not say a word; neither the figures nor those who are not. Neither the ranchers, nor picadors, nor banderilleros, nor swordsmen, nor proxies, nor aid, nor crew drivers… No one. Well … almost nobody.
Simón Casas spoke in this blog on June 28 to clarify that there will be no bulls in summer in the Plaza de Las Ventas with the argument that it should open its doors with a show worthy of its category and not with a bullfight to which attend a few fans and a clueless tourist.
The businessman José María Garzón has spoken and has already announced a bullfight for this summer in El Puerto de Santa María.
Two bullfights are scheduled for July 18 and 19 in Ávila; on August 1, in Estepona and Osuna, two major celebrations in Huelva, on August 2 and 3, and two other bullfights in Mérida at the end of the same month.
And cycles of heifers without horses are announced in Andalusia and Castilla-La Mancha. Curiously, the VII Silver Pottery Contest of Villaseca de la Sagra has been suspended due to the bureaucratic obstacles of the La Mancha autonomous government -one of those who pompously say they support bullfighting- and the Toledo Veterinary College, who have tried to obtain a economic benefit of holding these public tentaderos for applicants without horses, according to the local council. Unheard…!
And a little more…
It is not normal. And very strange.
Today, Spain should appear covered from north to south with hundreds of bullfighting posters announcing that the party is alive and that its actors are overflowing with madness to dress in lights and fulfill the dreams devastated by the pandemic.
Today, with 50% or 75% of the capacity, with a meter and a half or two between each other, Spain should be a great bullring where all those who had to do it in Fallas, April and San Isidro.
Tails of bullfighters should illustrate the surroundings of the squares of Valencia, Seville, Madrid, Pamplona … demanding from businessmen to organize all the celebrations that have been stolen from them since March.
But no. The bull world is still confined even though the state of alarm has ended, and the rest of the country is trying to regain normalcy.
Bullfighting is full of bullfighters and ranchers gripped by fear
What is happening?
It happens, first of all, that the City Councils have suspended almost all the fairs and festivals, and, with this, they have closed many doors to the celebration of bullfighting. It is true.
But there is another reality.
The world of the bull is dominated by a dark, hidden mafia, unknown to the general public, who enjoys an absolute power and manages the business at will. They are four or five large bonnets who rule in the ranches, in the most important squares, direct the career of the main figures, order, decide, impose, threaten and can be implacable enemies for those who do not accept their rules. A mafia that is only interested in profit and not bullfighting.
The world of the bull is full of fears, and not only the bull; made men and rights – heroic in the ring – who lower their heads and remain silent before the abuse of those who command. Bullfighters fearful that one word higher than another will ostracize them.
The world of the bull is an orchard of disunited, confronted and unsupportive sectors.
Why don’t bullfighters and ranchers knock on the table and demand that entrepreneurs schedule festivities to help them in their economic ruin?
For two reasons. The first, because they are cowards before the great ones, who, in one way or another, are their bosses. And the second, because they are unable to understand that only with a personal financial sacrifice is it possible to get out of the crisis.
How many bullfighters club the gates of La Maestranza or Las Ventas to make the paseíllo? Not even a single one. How many ranchers have stepped forward? No one.
The picadors, banderilleros and young men of sword have been the only ones that accept a reduction of 25% of their salaries, but only in places of third and fourth category and until December 31. Crumbs, yes, but at least a good intention.
It is not possible to announce celebrations if all the performers, ranchers, bullfighters, doctors, veterinarians, musicians, the one from the chopping block, the one from the mulillas, lockers and doormen do not accept a reduction in their salaries to the extent of the allowed capacity.
It is not possible to celebrate celebrations if the big businessmen do not open their agendas and look for dates, bulls and bullfighters. And it is not because those who run the business do not want problems. It is not because bonnets they don’t care about bullfighting.
Why don’t Simón Casas and his partner Rafael García Garrido open Las Ventas and challenge the figures to fight in the summer, as in other times? What prevents the horseless heifers that are announced every summer in La Maestranza from being held in July? Where is a bullfighter crying out for a sign?
It is a pity that the bullfighting festival can disappear due to the inability of its protagonists, gripped by the fear of facing the establishment that moves the strings and directs the lives of professionals.
Now, the fault is not with the Ministry of Culture, nor with the autonomous communities, nor with the county councils, nor with the municipalities.
The responsibility is, unique and exclusive, of the bullfighting. They will be solely responsible for the stab that the pandemic has inflicted on bullfighting is fatally necessary.
A final detail for hope: the Asociación el Toro de Madrid wrote on the 3rd day a letter to the managing director of the Center for Bullfighting Affairs demanding that the bulls return to the Plaza de Las Ventas as soon as possible.
Fortunately, there are still fans … The only brave ones. Few, but committed.