Guapetón (Hottie) was the name of one of the bulls that during Saint John’s festivities were tortured and killed in Coria, Cáceres province, Spain, the 24th of June 2015. A cartoon figures name, ludicrous and insulting to whom would be the victim of incredible cruelty.
It was 20:00 o’clock when Guapeton was placed on the square of Coria to be “bait” for a grotesque crowd thirsty for fun. Fun which includes his murder. After being held for several hours in a small box, under the hot summer sun, his bully left him out of captivity to a false freedom. He was spurred by the pain from the wounds inflicted on his back and the blood that flowed abundantly. His anxiety and fear drove him to search desperately for a way out, to find a quiet place to shelter from all the commotion, from all these people who inexplicably provoked him, chased him, and harassed him. But he could not find peace or get compassion during the last two hours of his life.
There he was, in the middle of an improvised arena, surrounded by 3 or 4,000 people looking at him with indifference. Why should they care? Bulls are born to it, to suffer, to stuck with flags, to be pierced by the spears, to be set on fire, to be hunted to exhaustion, to be thrown into the sea, or killed by a gunshot as they do here, in Coria. All for the people joy, for the fiesta, for the fun defined on Spain’s Spanish.
For 20 minutes he is challenged relentlessly, they run towards him, he is hounded with capes, violently pushed and humiliated. His instincts tell him that they want to harm him and that he should defend himself in the only way he could, with his courage. Suddenly he threw himself against the iron bars, behind which several people were protected, and his horns pierced the stomach of one of them and the chest of another. Both of these men who, only a few minutes had harassed him in the square were now lying on the ground, one of them dead. Even before the 43 years old man had reached the floor, all who were there knew that the horn had been fatal. But it did not matter, the fiesta has to continue , politicians and rulers of Coria decided, and it did. A life is very little worth, at most a minute of silence the next day.
After half an hour of torture, the doors opened and they let him run freely through the streets of the old part of Coria. The funny thing now was to persecute and incite him. But Guapetón had no more strength left, he was exhausted. Despite that, the following 30 minutes the masses kept annoying and harassing him.
It was then I heard behind me: “Kill him, kill him!”. I turned and saw a man with a shotgun surrounded by law enforcement police go against Guapetón. The authority must ensure that the law is followed. The law that protects the torture and murder. A law that embarrass a country.
In my way out of the Cathedral Square, I looked back on the bull and his eyes moved me. Until then, I had tried not to think, not to feel. I wanted to be a witness and had to control my own emotions to be able at all to be there. But I couldn’t do it anymore. And I looked at him with a mixture of respect, admiration and empathy. And it was then I realized it: surrounded by dozens of cowards who fled at the first attempt of attack he did with the little strength he still had, he was scared but proud, exhausted but unbowed. A brave and 10.000 cowards.