|}the Moorish Santamaria Plaza,|
with Las Torres del Parque behind.
Just-inaugurated Mayor Gustavo Petro said that Bogotá should reconsider public spectacles which involve death. He's also barring public entities such as the phone and electricity companies from financing bullfighting with their advertising.
The mayor's is a sensible, humane perspective - but banning bullfighting here would mean the end of a long and storied tradition, as well as eliminate the jobs of people who breed and raise fighting bulls, work in the stadium and sell bullfighting paraphernalia - as well as the bullfighters themselves. And the aspiring bullfighters who train in the Santamaria plaza would be left without a profession.
|A protester stands before a line of anti-riot police outside the bullfighting stadium.|
La Santamaria is South America's most important bullfighting stadium and Colombia is the world's third biggest bullfighting nation, after Spain and Mexico. So, shuttering La Santamaria would be a real blow to bullfighting.
|Fans buy tickets outside|
Tied up with the anti-bullfighting campaign is undoubtedly a class issue, since bullfighting fans tend to be wealthy, and the ranchers who raise fighting bulls belong to the traditional landowning elite. In contrast, cockfighting is more of a blue collar activity. Also, bullfights attract lots of media, while cockfights go unreported.
|Detail from a poster advertising a bullfight.|
And if it's the public morality that's worrying the new mayor, he might also look at all the gratuitous violence in movies, television and video games.
|Most bullfighting fans, such as this woman walking past riot police and protesters outside of the stadium, are upper class Colombians.|
In any case, bullfighting's days are numbered: the sport or art was recently restricted in Ecuador and prohibited in Spain's Catalunia province. And it's simply not something which many young people are fans of. So, if politics and animal rights activists do not eliminate la fiesta brava, then chronology likely will.
|Poster advertising a bullfighting school.|
|Bullfighting paraphernalia for sale.|
Of course, Santamaria Plaza, with seating for only 13 - 14,000 spectators squeezed in, won't do for megaevents. But for small concerts and artistic events it's an attractive, centrally-located venue.
Nevertheless, getting more use out of the place won't be so easy. It is managed by the Corporacion Taurina, which will surely resist any use which threatens the bullfights. And the economically and socially influential residents of the Torres del Parque apartment buildings behind the plaza object strongly to the noise from concerts.
|The Santamaria Plaza has a handsome Moorish arquitecture.|
|Fight to the death: Bullfighting poster.|
|'Bullfighting is art and culture.' Bullfighting advocates put up these posters calling on Mayor Petro to preserve la fiesta brava.|
A bullfighter's philosophy
No More Olé!
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours