CIUDAD JUÁREZ – It had been eight years since the great Spanish bullfighter Pablo Hermoso de Mendoza – one of the best in the world – set foot in Ciudad Juárez. Thousands of people gathered on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in April to cheer him on as he charged the bull on horseback, holding a rejón, a type of pike.
So much had changed here since his last appearance.
He now rode in the Plaza de Toros Balderas instead of the old Plaza de Toros Monumental, which was demolished and turned into a shopping center.
During that eight-year period, thousands of people were murdered here in drug related violence transforming Cd. Juárez into the “murder capital of the world.”
Hermoso de Mendoza stayed away and so did his fans on the other side of the border in El Paso.
“We would rarely go to Juárez due to the violence that was taking place,” said El Pasoan Maria Elena Nunez, 30. “But these past months the violence has moderated somewhat and lots of El Pasoans are starting to visit again.”
Her husband, Edgar Ivan Nunez, 31, agreed. “I think it’s great that many of us are returning to Juárez, since people want to enjoy the great atmosphere, food, and the culture that this great city offers,” he said holding his hat while a light breeze passed through the plaza. “I bet that many of the people sitting in this plaza are from outside of Juárez.”
Bullfighting is an important part of the culture that Edgar Ivan likes. It is a sport with deep roots that go back to Spain and Portugal and which flourished in México and Cd Juárez.
“We’re fans of bullfight entertainment and we had been waiting eight years for the great Pablo Hermoso de Mendoza to return to Juárez. He is one of the greatest bullfighters from Spain. All his bullfights are done while riding on his horse. He makes a great faena and gets the crowd really excited,” explains Maria Elena.
The re-appearance of Hermoso de Mendoza in Ciudad Juárez was a great asset for the city. People who gathered to watch the bullfighting event got a glimpse of what the city was losing – great entertainment and tourists rising to their feet to cheer the great show put on by one of the biggest names in the sport.
“Ciudad Juárez needs to do this more often. There were many people here today,” said a young man selling souvenirs outside the event with a shiny smile that covered his entire face. “More people means food on the table for me and my family. Many of the people here today paid with dollars, something I hadn’t seen in a long time.”