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Home Culture The rehabilitation of Plaza de Las Ventas, a paralysis wrapped in a blanket of darkness | The bull, by the horns | Culture

The rehabilitation of Plaza de Las Ventas, a paralysis wrapped in a blanket of darkness | The bull, by the horns | Culture

by News Room
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Without alarmism, but with realism. What is the current situation of the necessary and urgent rehabilitation of the building that houses the Las Ventas bullring? It is being studied by the public company Planifica Madrid, as explained in this newspaper by Carlos Novillo, Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Interior of the Community of Madrid. When is the renovation work scheduled to begin and end? There are no deadlines for one or the other. Is the plaza in Madrid safe? Yes, because it has a valid license to hold bullfighting events, but it is surprising that other shows are prohibited for precisely security reasons. That is to say, the current rule on this matter does not apply to the bullfighting festival, but does apply to any other celebration.

Novillo’s recent statements in this blog not only do not clear up the doubts, but they increase the concern.

There is an obvious fact, accepted by the Government of the Community of Madrid, owner of the square: Las Ventas requires a profound reform because it is a building from 1931 in which the public initiative has invested very little financial resources for its maintenance.

Thus, in 2022, the Minister of the Presidency, Justice and Interior at that time, Enrique López, announced a reform project that was launched at the beginning of December and was divided into three phases, with an initial budget of around 20 millions of euros.

Why has the 2022 reform project been invalidated? What have the technicians detected to propose the preparation of a new report?

The first crews of bricklayers and painters began work in that last month of the year and their work was scheduled to continue until April 2023 at the end of the first section. But on December 16, only 15 days after the start of the reform, an unexpected political event occurred that disrupted the planned plans: the regional parliamentary group of Vox voted against the community Budget project and the Government was forced to extend those of the previous year.

This circumstance paralyzed the works started; Months later, regional elections are held in Madrid, the PP wins by an absolute majority and the president, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, elects new members for her executive. Enrique López leaves, and Carlos Novillo, until then Deputy Minister of the Interior, becomes Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Interior of the Community of Madrid.

But then an unusual event occurs: the bricklayers and painters do not return to Las Ventas, the Community leaves the forum and remains silent. In fact, this blog requests an interview with counselor Carlos Novillo on September 12, 2023 with the rehabilitation of the square as a central topic, but the politician’s agenda postpones the meeting until February 2, 2024.

It is then that the Community of Madrid officially reports – not a single official statement to date about the interruption of the works – that there has been a change of plans: the new Government decides to put the previous plan – that of the three phases and a 20 million budget—and commissions the public company Planifica Madrid to carry out an in-depth study of the situation of the plaza, to which 13 million are allocated.

The arena and the lines of the Plaza de Las Ventas, intensely snowy in January 2021.

Because?

Novillo goes around the bush, does not answer the question and simply says that the technicians have considered the need to carry out an in-depth study of the situation of the building before restarting the works, and alludes to the damage that was caused in him the intense snowfall of the Filomena phenomenon, in January 2021.

Why is the previous project invalidated? What have the technicians detected to propose the preparation of a new report? Why does the Community persist in its policy of silence? What is happening in Las Ventas that the public does not know?

The reality is that the reform is paralyzed and, according to the Minister’s words, there is no deadline for the beginning of the works, much less for their completion.

Meanwhile and simultaneously, another curious circumstance occurs. The center of the Las Ventas arena is occupied by a tent where weddings, baptisms and communions can be celebrated, but the prohibition on organizing shows that require the occupation of the stands remains in force, with the exception of bullfighting celebrations. And the reason is the same as that given by the then mayor of Madrid, Manuela Carmena, when she poured cold water on the plans for concerts and mass events that businessman Rafael García Garrido had under his arm: security.

Without alarmism, but with realism; Someone should explain to the public the truth about the state of the Las Ventas building

Bullfights can be held with full capacity (22,964 spectators), but not other shows that require the occupation of the lines, even half.

Novillo argues that a concert does not appear in the building license, but bullfighting celebrations do. But security, he understands, should be an equal requirement for everyone.

In other words, he does not know why the Government of the Community of Madrid paralyzed the reform that began in 2022 and that should end this year; The current status of the study carried out by the company Planifica Madrid is unknown; The conclusions of that report will be unknown, based on what has already happened, and it is not known when the works could restart and what their magnitude could be.

Meanwhile, without it being known whether the Las Ventas building has the necessary security guarantees, bullfighting shows continue to be held with full capacity due to a political decision—the Government of Madrid boasts of its unconditional support for bullfighting—that allows all kinds of malevolent conjectures.

Without alarmism, but with realism: someone should explain to the public the truth about this matter; The absence of transparency is not the best policy.

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