July 3, 2008
First, came the destruction of Plaza El Toreo de Tijuana, just a few months before it could have been legally proclaimed a national historical monument that the bulldozers could not be allowed to touch.
Earlier, Plaza Monumental de Juárez, owned by the Hurtado family, came crashing down, to make room for a new Wal Mart.
Now, the family has announced that its crown jewel of bullfighting, Plaza Monumental de Tijuana, “The Beautiful Bullring by the Sea”, is destined for a similar fate as that which resulted in Plazas El Toreo de Tijuana and Monumental de Juárez being consigned to dusty history.
And, therein lays a debate that will not easily be overcome. The Tijuana plaza is celebrating its 48th year. It has a position of social, economic, and artistic culture that is very much enjoyed by many of Tijuana’s two million residents, as well as thousands of visiting taurinos from north of the border.
In addition to bullfights, the plaza has been the scene of concerts, boxing and wrestling matches, religious ceremonies, rodeos, circuses, motocross, and even weddings. Tijuana Mayor Jorge Ramos said, June 20, that, due to its unique history and its importance to Mexican culture, the destruction of the plaza would not be permitted.
Talks, rumors, and still more talks and more rumors, but nobody has the true story. Nobody can give Bullfight World the straight scoop. Perhaps, because nobody knows, or if they do, they’re not talking.
In the Hurtado family’s favor, doing away with Plaza Monumental most certainly would not interrupt bullfighting in the Tijuana area. The Plaza Cortijo Santa Fe, sometimes called the Plaza de La Mexico, is only about a par five from Plaza Monumental. (That is if you’re Tiger Woods.) Corridas and festivals have been held in Ensenada. And, what about the Misión del Sol? There are corridas and novilladas in Mexicali. The bloodless bullfights in California are going great guns. There are plenty of opportunities for Baja California aficionados and visitors to engage in their passion. They don’t really need Plaza Monumental. But, they would still hate to lose it.
Even in Juárez, the old Plaza Balderas was refurbished and is now enjoying complete sell-outs.
And, it’s not as if the Hurtados need the money. They’re rolling in the stuff.
No matter what the outcome, Bullfight World will stay on top of things, keeping its readers informed on what’s happening in the bullfight world. It’s our way of contributing to Mexican culture and the arts.
But, destroying the plaza would leave a certain emptiness, a deep sadness, in the hearts of the fans, who have seen such famous toreros as El Cordobés, Antonio Ordoñez, Carlos Arruza, and Luis Miguel Dominguín perform on its sands. The plaza is too important to be carted away in a body bag and replaced by a Wal Mart or similar commercial facility. It’s a beautiful bullring, dammit, and that’s what it should continue to be!