The popular bullfight Corralejas de Sincelejo is set to begin Friday despite floods having devastated the northern Colombian region, reported newspaper El Universal Wednesday.
The Committee for Disaster Prevention met in the department of Sucre Tuesday to determine whether to hold the dangerous bullfights called “corralejas” that are to take place in its capital city, Sincelejo.
The ten-day-long festival involves over a dozen bulls and by even more less-than-sober amateur bullfighters who try to “tame” them within a temporary bullring constructed for the event.
The correlejas, a beloved tradition of Colombian coastal culture, claim lives and cause injuries every year. The town of Sampues saw 48 deaths this year and many recall the tragedy that struck Sincelejo in 1980 when hundreds of people were killed when the hastily constructed bullring collapsed.
Sucre was one of the areas most affected by this rainy season’s harsh weather, with over 110,000 inhabitants affected by the flooding. Some believe the corralejas should not be held this year, out of respect to the victims of the floods, and because of the soggy ground which could pose a threat to the structural integrity of the bullring.
“In the midst of this natural disaster that has hit this country there is no reason for parties, and less for the corralejas,” lawyer and historian Inis Amador Paternina of Sincelejo told El Espectador.
The committee decided to go ahead with the festival contingent on several safety measures, in hopes that it will boost the economy so that the region can bring aid to those in need.
Safety measures include testing the construction of the bullring, undergoing an evacuation drill, having health care on hand and preventing extremely intoxicated individuals from entering the ring.
“The object is for the citizens and visitors of Sincelejo to enjoy the festivities and be assured of their safety,” said a representative of the safety committee to newspaper El Universal.