Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The flattening of the bulls

Wal-mart gets a lot of crap from people in small towns for coming in and building a huge store that puts all the local mom and pop stores out of business. I’ve seen lines of protesters form over proposed Wal-marts and in some cases the giant retailer has even backed down.

However, this pales in comparison to what took place in Juarez Mexico. About a year ago while everyone was ducking for cover and worrying about the drug war Wal Mart decided they needed to open up a third Supercenter in the city.

So, in order to make a nice flat spot for the store, they bulldozed the bullring.

Yep, you read that correctly, “they tore down the bullring in Mexico to build a Wal Mart”.

Built in 1957, demolished to build a Wal-mart 2008

Apparently the bullring belonged to the Hurtado family and they own many bullrings throughout Mexico and have done this several times before. From what I was told by a guy I work with, the city was going to declare it a historic monument and the owners tore it down and sold the land before that could happen.

Lets hear it for the moneymen who tear down a Mexican cultural icon to put up an American icon. Do you think the locals feel like they’ve been sold out? No, all they see is the happy smiley symbol of an invader taking away a part of their identity.

Chinga la raza, viva Wal-mart!

As a final indignation to the old bullring, the whole complex (which includes a Starbucks) is named “Plaza Monumental” after the old bullring and sports a sign with the outline of the old ring.

All that remains from before is this now oddly out of place monument to the bullfighters and a bunch of out of date “tourist guide” web sites directing confused googlers to the parking lot of Wal-Mart.

Luckily for the city of Juárez, the older Plaza Balderas bullring had yet to be paved over so it’s been brought out of retirement and pressed into service once again.

PS: There is a wonderful hole in wall restaurant near downtown Juárez called “El Tragadero”. It’s a dingy place filled with even more weathered old men but when you start looking at the yellowed artifacts covering the walls you can see history. It’s the preferred eatery of the “Toreros” and the walls are covered with newspaper clippings, signed photos and other bullfighting memorabilia from long ago. Go there next time you’re in Juárez (just be careful of the airborne “lead pollution”)

No comments: