Thursday 17 June 2021

Third time in 50 years that San Jose bullfights have been suspended

In the Costa Rica bullfights, the bull always wins. Bullfighters are hurt and need medical attention at a time a hospital bed shortage

QCOSTARICA – The Christmas holidays in San Jose includes the Zapote Fair and the “corridas de toros” – bullfights. But this 2020 there will be no Zapote Fair and no bulls.

In Costa Rica, the bull always wins

This is the third time in the 50 year history of the “toros a la tica” that the event has been canceled.

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Earlier this month it was announced that the bullfighting activities were to be, without a crowd in the stands, and broadcast by Teletica and Repretel from December 25 to January 3.

The Minister of Health, Daniel Salas, was clear last Friday when he said that the situation in the country due to the coronavirus pandemic does not permit the bullfights.

The decision was not solely on the concern of the spreading of the virus, but of the current crisis in the hospitals where Intensive Care Unit beds are few, critical patients having to wait for a bed to free up.

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You see, in the bullfights in Costa Rica, it is not the bull that loses, but the “improvisados” – the amateur bullfighters – which is really a bunch of people taunting and running away from a charging bull, an activity that can and does often result in injuries. Many are minor, but also there have been serious ones.

And it is that, that officials canceled the toros, so as not to place additional stress on the already stretched thin medical services.

“We are in a very critical situation in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit),” said the minister.

The San Juan de Dios hospital only had five beds for patients with covid-19 on Tuesday and similar situations are experienced in other medical centers.

On Monday, the Ministry of Health reported 658 covid patients hospitalized, of which 248 (almost 100% capacity) in the ICU.

The Zapote bullfights go back 50 years

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It was in 1969 when the first bullfights were held in Zapote. And according to bull statistician, Álvaro Zamora, this year is the third time the event has been canceled: the first time was in 2002 and then in 2006.

“What I remember is that in 2002 it was due to the condition of the old bull ring, which did not meet the conditions to be used. And in 2006 it was because the neighbors made a Constitutional Court appeal that the portable redondel (bull ring) did not meet the conditions, that is why in 2007 the new, permanent, roundel was built, “he explained.


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