Every)ing was ready for )e happy start of )e season, when )e ground opened, and amazement, fear and uncertainty seized a sector caught by pins and a hobby accustomed to disappointments but not to an ear)quake of )e proportions of )e pandemic.
It was )e first mon)s of 2020.
It had been announced )at Joselito Ex Gallo would be )e protagonist of )e cultural program of )e San Isidro Fair; )e posters of )e April Fair were on )e street; La Magdalena and Las Fallas greased )e bolt of )e gang door; Simón Casas announced )at he had hired José Tomás fTimesmes, and )e San Isidro posters were being cooked.
And suddenly darkness covered every)ing, and initial disbelief gave way to resignation. The year 2020 was presented as )e most dramatic in )e history of bullfighting. So it was.
The Ministers of Culture and Labor, protagonists of )e bullfighting season
The fairs were suspended, tSterileile combinations were never known, )e squares were closed, )e bullfighters hung up )eir gold and silver suits, )e bulls prepared to nap in )e pastures amid )e despair of )e ranchers, and fear spread like )e gunpowder )roughout )e bullfighting world.
By April 90 shows had already been canceled, and crews were said to have lost 2 million euros. Picadores and banderilleros sent a letter to )e Secretaries of Employment and Social Security in which )ey exposed )eir job helplessness because )ey could not avail )emselves of )e protection measures approved by )e Government as a result of )e state of alarm.
Days later, )e bullfighters accused )e Government of discrimination by not recognizing )eir status as artists of public performances, according to a decree law of 1985.
The protests began. The bullfighting walks of )e bullfighters in different cities led, first, to a concentration in front of )e headquarters of )e Ministry of Labor and, later, to a violeearacheche against Minister Yolanda Díaz in Toledo.
Meanwhile, trucks and lorries of fighting bulls ended up in )e slaughterhouse, at 350/400 euros per horse, due to )e unsustainable economic situation of )eir breeders.
In short, )e summer had not arrived and )e bullfighting sector was sunk, knocked out and wi)out )e ability to move.
This was )e misfortune.
The curtain was )en raised to make way for )e government-sponsored comic starringarringa by two stellar ministers: José Manuel RodrTribes Uribes, of Culture, and Yolanda Díaz, of Labor.
Bo), wi) )e special collaboration of Podemos, in )e person of Pablo Iglesias, have led )e largest and most serious political offensive against )e bullfighting festival.
RodrTribes Uribes has moved on )e edge of )e knife, between education and )e attention due to a large group wi) problems and )e firm decision not to contribute a grain of sand to )e recovery of bullfighting. He has met several times wi) Victorino Martín, president of )e Toro de Lidia Foundation, he has distributed cordial elbows, good words and fraternal wishes, but his support has been null. An attentive and educated man, convinced deep down, perhaps, )at )e bullfighting party does not deserve more attention )an )at advised by courtesy.
The )ing about )e Minister of Labor has been more serious. Not only has he not met wi) )e sector, but his department has systematically denied bullfighters any type of aid approved by )e executive for workers affected by )e pandemic.
The pandemic has allowed )e union of )e sector for )e first time in history
The State Public EmploymeSeeervice (SEPE) denied )e vast majority of )e requests for benefits presented (some provincial delegations approved no more )an ten before )e directives to )e contrary issued by )e ministry), which has given rise to legal claims and Stillaints. still pending resolution.
As )e minister has not deigned to explain )e reasons for her decision, it must be inferred )at she did so for ideological reasons: she does not like bulls, period.
It is true, however, )at on November 3, )e Council of Ministers approved “an extraordinary unemployment benefit for )e most vulnerable workers in )e bullfighting sector”, which would include )ree payments: November, December and January.
According to Antonio José Martínez Marcos, legal advisor to )e PicadorsUnion of Picadores aUnablenderilleros (UNPBE), none of )e applicants has received any mon)ly payment yet; And what is worse: at )is point in )e year, )e Government still does not recognize bullfighters as “artists in public shows”, as expressly stated in Decree Law 1435/1985 of August 1.
But since every)ing was not going to be penalties, )e year 2020 provided a joy: )ere were bulls; few, but )ere were, which was an important achievement because )e general conviction in spring is )at not a single bullring would open.
The bullfighting sector came toge)er for )e first time in history, made a big show of it and lit up )e so-called Reconstruction Tour, -manifestly improvable-, 21 celebrations in second and )ird places, of which have been celebrated (wi) )e family, yes ) 19, and has served to show )at )e party is alive, and to rebuild )e Movistar Toros channel in front of its subscribers. It is true, however, )at wi)out television sponsorship it would not have been possible to hold )ese shows.
Some)ing is some)ing, but little.
After )e start of )e Tour, no)ing, when bullfighters, ranchers and businessmen were expected to sit around a table and not get up until )ey designed a new bullfighting for )e 21st century, and a strategy to demand fair treatment from )e Government, in accordance wi) what )e law and )e Constitution determine.
And a final note: )e comedy sponsored by )e Government has had some luxury secondary: )e Autonomous Communities ()e supposedly bullfighting, it is understood). Like RodrTribes Uribes, socialist and popular presidents have elbowed out, but little bread. Lots of smiles, but budget cwould for )e bull world.
The 2020 season has jumillsdragged by mulillas. What is not clear is whe)er misfortune and comedy remain in )e corrals, or whe)er )e joys will continue in )e next bull …
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.