December 2, 2005

Bullfight World
By Lyn Sherwood

Monumental Scandal Involves Empresario of La Plaza Mexico

Perhaps, the biggest financial scandal in Mexican bullfight history has rocked the planet of the bulls in Mexico.

On the heels of charges that he allegedly absconded with as much as $686 million pesos, Rafael Herrerías, empresario of La Plaza Mexico, has apparently fled to Chile, which has no extradition treaty with Mexico, according to the respected taurine journalist José Mata, who has reported the events in his publications and on the Internet. As the 2005-2006 season gets under way in the interiors, Herrerías has surprisingly decided to “take a vacation” in Chile, as reflected in published reports and speculation in the Mexican press.

However, it should be noted that the Mexican press is prone to exaggeration, the reporting of unconfirmed rumors, and yellow journalism. Therefore, anything reported about Herrerías should be taken with a large grain of salt.

The apparent new empresario of La Plaza Mexico, which is celebrating its 60th year of operation, will be retired matador Miguel Espinosa “Armillita Chico,” although such has not been officially confirmed.

During the last several years, Herrerías has been embroiled in controversy regarding the bullfights that he has presented in the world’s largest plaza de toros. Charges of presenting novillos as genuine toros and enforcing restrictions that have caused many of the world’s biggest name matadors from appearing in La Plaza Mexico have resulted in wholesale name calling and charges of impropriety.

One of Herrerías’ most vocal critics was Matador Antonio Lomelín, who died, earlier this year. The official cause of his death was announced as a stroke. But, it has since been reported that Lomelín and Matador Jorge Jesus “El Gleason” had prepared a videotape in which Lomelín predicted that he would be assassinated, on orders of Herrerías. There has been great speculation about such a videotape, but if it indeed exists, it has apparently not publicly surfaced. The body of the matador was cremated, within hours of his death. Whether or not an official autopsy was performed is not known.

The truly strange aspect of the donnybrook is that Her-rerías is not currently charged with anything involving bullfighting, but rather his administration of sporting events in Veracruz. That organization is known as Club Deportivo Rojos de Veracruz.

Not only Herrerías, himself, but likewise those who work-ed in his administration are suspected of involvement. They include: Lorenzo Lazo Margain, Rafael Olivera, Reynaldo Gasca, and Alejandro Kennedy.

All that is known, to date is that on the evening of Nov. 20, Herrerías was seen in the Mexico City International Airport, apparently preparing to board a flight to Chile. Formal charges are expected to be filed against him, this week, in Mexico.

And, Still More Problems

Rejoneador Gastón Santos Jr. is raising an uproar over the apparent fact the Mexican Union of Matadores & Rejoneadores has, for whatever reason, refused to honor Santos’ membership. He was to have performed in La Plaza Mexico, Nov. 20.

Cancún Recovers from Hurricane

Following the destruction caused by Hurricane Wilma, taurine officials in Cancún are preparing to inaugurate a new bullfight season. Empresarios Jorge Avila and Manolo Espinosa have announced that the next corrida de toros will be celebrated Dec. 9 and will feature Manolo Espinosa, Eloy Cavazos, Jorge Avila, Eulalio López “El Zotoluco”, and Alejandro Amaya, each facing one bull from a variety of six different ranches.

IATA Prepares 2006 Convention

The International Association of Taurine Aficionados will celebrate its sixth annual convention, March 25, featuring amateur toreros from throughout the world, who will converge on the ganadería of Don Arturo Garcia, in the State of Tamaulipas. Information is available by calling Fred Renk, at (956) 481-3300.

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