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Antonio Lorca: Bullfighting, cultural heritage? Go now…! | The bull, by the horns | Culture

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It was seen coming, but it is no less painful news because it was expected: the Minister of Culture, Ernest Urtasun, has decided to suppress the National Bullfighting Award that since 2013 has annually highlighted a relevant figure in the sector.

Paradoxes of life: the central government, which is not precisely characterized by its attachment to bullfighting, keeps it in the Ministry of Culture, but appoints an openly anti-bullfighting minister, willing, it seems, to do everything he can to it. possible damage.

And those autonomous communities that have turned the bullfight into an electoral banner, not exempt from interested political overtones, manage the bulls from ministries related to security, interior, environment, agriculture, public service, presidency or justice, among others. departments.

Both the national and regional Executives forget the letter and spirit of Law 18/2013 of November 12 for the regulation of bullfighting as cultural heritage. In the preamble of that norm, the legislator states that “bullfighting is part of the common historical and cultural heritage of all Spaniards as an activity rooted in our history and our common cultural heritage.” Next, he emphasizes that “the cultural character of bullfighting is indisputable and deserves to be preserved as a treasure of our country; It is an artistic manifestation in itself unrelated to ideologies.”

The law admits that “there is a consensus in the majority acceptance of the cultural, historical and traditional nature of bullfighting as an essential part of the Historical, Artistic, Cultural and Ethnographic Heritage of Spain; and, as such, it is the responsibility of the public powers to ensure the freedom of the creator and, in this case, the development of any artistic expression, such as bullfighting, and respect for it.”

“We can affirm,” concludes the preamble of the norm, “that bullfighting forms an unquestionable Spanish intangible cultural heritage, which we do not hold exclusively, but rather share with other places such as Portugal, Latin America and the south of France.”

“The cultural character of bullfighting is indisputable; It is an artistic manifestation in itself unrelated to ideologies.” (Law 18/2013 of November 12)

Two years before the promulgation of the law, approved during the time of Mariano Rajoy as president of the Government and with an absolute majority of the PP in the Congress of Deputies, the Government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, at the request of the then vice president Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, decided to transfer the bullfighting competitions from the Ministry of the Interior to the Ministry of Culture at the end of July 2011, when this department was directed by Ángeles González Sinde. The reference of the Council of Ministers then indicated that it understood bullfighting “as an artistic discipline and a cultural product”, and considered that the powers of the State in order to promote and protect it “are, of course, correctly located in the Ministry of Culture.” . This department, the note continued, “will be in charge of the promotion and development of this artistic discipline, the studies, statistics and analysis on the subject and also the registration of professionals in the sector.”

The decision of the central government, promoted months before by a group of leading figures in bullfighting and businessmen in the sector, allowed some autonomies – all of which already had transfers in bullfighting matters – to go one step further and elevate bullfighting to the consideration of Asset of Cultural Interest. This was decided in the same year 2011 by those of Castilla-La Mancha, Valencia and Madrid; Before, in 2010, Navarra had done it; in 2012, Murcia did it; in 2014, Castilla y León, and in 2018, La Rioja.

Since that transfer in 2011, the Ministry of Culture annually publishes bullfighting statistics and the registry of professionals, but its task of promotion and promotion has been limited to the annual award of one of the Fine Arts medals to some outstanding bullfighter, practice which has been repeated since 1996, and the National Bullfighting Prize, now suppressed by the Ministry.

The president of the Junta de Andalucía, Juanma Moreno, met with a group of bullfighters on June 8, 2020.(Image provided by the Junta de Andalucía).

And the Autonomous Communities called ‘bullfighting’?

All of them, regardless of their political affiliation, get their mouths full when talking about the bullfight as a cultural manifestation, its economic significance and commitment to the environment, but they feel deeply self-conscious when it comes to giving it its place. deserved in the Government’s organizational chart and, of course, when they must decide which budget item corresponds to the sector.

With the collaboration of the Toro de Lidia Foundation and the Ministry of Culture itself, it has been possible to prepare the following list on the location of bullfighting in the organization charts of the different autonomous communities considered bullfighting.

Central Government (PSOE)

Culture Ministry.

Madrid (Popular Party)

Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Interior.

Andalusia (Popular Party)

Ministry of the Presidency, Interior, Social Dialogue and Administrative Simplification.

Valencia (Popular Party in coalition with Vox)

Department of Justice and Interior.

Department of Culture and Sports for the purposes of promotion and promotion.

Castilla y León (Popular Party in coalition with Vox)

Office of the President.

Ministry of Environment, Housing and Territorial Planning.

Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sports for the purposes of development and promotion.

Extremadura (Popular Party in coalition with Vox)

Ministry of Forest Management and Rural World.

General Directorate of Rural Infrastructure, Heritage and Bullfighting.

La Rioja (Popular Party)

Ministry of Health and Social Policies.

Games and Public Shows Service. General Directorate of Justice and Interior.

Ministry of Culture, Tourism, Sports and Youth for the purposes of development and promotion.

Navarra (PSOE in coalition with Geroa Abai)

Department of the Presidency, Equality, Public Service and Interior.

Public Games and Shows Section belonging to the General Directorate of the Interior.

Basque Country (PNV in coalition with PSOE) (Before the last elections)

Security Department.

Games and Shows Management.

Murcia (Popular Party in coalition with Vox)

Ministry of the Presidency, Spokesperson and Foreign Action.

General Directorate of Local Administration.

Aragón (Popular Party in coalition with Vox)

Ministry of the Presidency, Interior and Culture.

Games and Public Shows Service. General Directorate of Interior and Emergency.

Castilla-La Mancha (PSOE)

Ministry of Finance, Public Administration and Digital Transformation.

Public entertainment service and administrative authorizations. General Directorate of Civil Protection.

In 2011, the Government of Rodríguez Zapatero moved the bullfighting competitions from the Interior to Culture, considering bullfighting as an artistic discipline and a cultural product.

It is striking that two of the communities in which the largest number of celebrations are celebrated, Madrid and Andalusia, and where their political leaders boast endlessly of their unwavering support for bullfighting as cultural heritage, keep the bulls in departments that have nothing to do with Culture.

Carlos Novillo, Minister of the Environment, Agriculture and Interior of Madrid and bullfighting official in this Community, responded on February 23 to the question of why the bulls continue to depend on the Interior: “They could be in Culture, of course, but That decision was made to take advantage of the synergies that arise from the regulation of popular celebrations, the appointments of commissioners as presidents of Las Ventas… And the breeding of the bull is very connected to the environment.”

Antonio Sanz, counselor of the Presidency, Interior, Social Dialogue and Administrative Simplification of the Junta de Andalucía, responded to the same question on April 12: “Well, historically, and in the majority of the autonomous communities, bullfighting competitions have been and They are in Interior. If we take them to Culture to appoint an anti-bullfighting minister, we are doing bad business. Wouldn’t it be better to have a fully bullfighting Interior Minister? I think the important thing is not the name of the counseling, but the commitment. Furthermore, he has been in the Interior all his life.”

This neglect is not only the heritage of the Popular Party. In Castilla-La Mancha and Navarra, for example, PSOE executives have also not taken into consideration the cultural heritage of bullfighting.

Both of them, of course, flout the letter and spirit of Law 18/2013. If it is true that they are bullfighters, they are cheap, or their memory is so weak that they are unaware that bullfighting should be considered culture at the same level as other sectors of this industry.

Therefore, to all of them, centralist and regional politicians, we can say: Bullfighting, cultural heritage? Go now…!

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