Colombia’s bold plan to transform bullfighting arenas into cultural hubs

After the stop to bullfighting, the arenas will be transformed into cultural centers and spaces dedicated to the popular economy

The Colombian government has unveiled an ambitious national plan to convert bullfighting arenas into cultural centers and spaces dedicated to the local economy, following the abolition of bullfights. This initiative, pending presidential approval to become law, was established by House Bill 219 and Senate Bill 298 of 2023.

Launch in Duitama, Boyacá

Duitama, Boyacá, was the first city to see this project come to life. Senator Esmeralda Hernández, the initiative’s promoter, along with the Director of Social Prosperity, Gustavo Bolívar, and Mayor José Luis Bohórquez, officially presented the plan to the local community.

The transformation of the arenas will allow municipalities to participate in public tenders to secure the resources needed for remodeling these spaces. The goal is to prepare them for events that can revitalize the local economy and promote culture in the regions. For 2024, 15 municipalities will be selected to benefit from this program, with another 20 chosen by 2025. However, the exact budget for the renovation of the arenas will depend on the current state of each facility.

Aiming to become farmers’ markets

During the project’s presentation in Duitama, the community symbolically removed a sculpture of the famous bullfighter César Rincón from the local arena, signifying a new beginning and reconciliation with animals. The monument will be relocated to another part of the municipality, transforming the arena into a more inclusive and culturally significant space.

In parallel, the government is also working on converting the arenas into farmers’ markets. This plan, funded with an investment of 15 billion pesos (approximately $3.75 million), aims to provide municipalities with mobile infrastructure for agricultural markets. The initiative seeks to strengthen local economies and encourage farmers to grow and sell their products directly to consumers.

Gustavo Bolívar emphasized the importance of turning these “places of torture” into useful spaces for the entire community. He announced the delivery of 15 mobile markets within this year, with the inauguration of the first in the next quarter. Through this plan, the Colombian government hopes to create significant change, promoting culture, local economies, and greater attention to animal welfare.

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