Issue - May 2008

May 2008

In this months issue interviewing Latti Ugrinovic about FUNACC, Ross Eventon brings us Lucid Dreams, Charlotte Mayhew visits our friends of CBA and tells us about English in Cochabamba, Walter Sanchez and the history of bullfighting in Cochabamba, Alejandra Kolbe facing global more...

May 2008

El Acho

Walter Sánchez tells of a once existing bullfighting arena in Cochabamba.

Walter Sanchez
Archeological Museum
Universidad Mayor de San Simón

In the second part of the XIX century the most popular recreational activity in Cochabamba city, was the bullfight. It was so popular that the City Hall built a coliseum; this was located in San Sebastian’s hill (today the Coliseum is there). We do not know the year of its construction; neither who the architect was; but we do know that it was named the Plaza de Toros “González Vélez” although it was often called ‘El Acho’.

José Aguirre Achá, who visited this place for many performances, tells us in his book De los Andes al Amazonas (1902): “The building is beautiful and comfortable, offering the most beautiful view of the city and countryside from its windows.”

It was made entirely from adobe, with only some parts of stone and lime. The inside of the coliseum, the higher seats, were surrounded by columns of brick and covered. In the middle was the Govorner’s box, reserved only for authorities and their families. The remaining middle rows, which were numbered and unroofed, were meant for the middle and popular class. Below these was where they kept the bulls. There were also changing rooms for the bull fighters and areas for the police and infirmary and any other service that participated at the Bullring.

In 1893, because of the intensity of this recreational lifestyle linked to bulls, the City Hall began to improve the quality of the performances and regulate the obligations of everyone involved through a decree. The bullfights would begin around 2:30 in the afternoon, with the “entrance to the sound of the pasodoble” played by the Municipal Guards. Then the first bull would be presented and the bullfighters would begin their show.

Every once in a while, and according to the skillfulness of the bullfighter, the public (majority men) would stand and yell “Ole!”. The melody changed when another bull would enter the arena, and the show would end, more or less around 7pm. After a little over a decade since the Decree, José Aguirre Achá talks of a decline in the number of people who attended El Acho: “Spanish toreros perform only a few times and always with bad results”. The cause being“the lack of interest these shows aroused in the public”. Achronicle from El Heraldo (17.VI.1907, Nº5078) can help clarify the reasons for lack of interest:

It seems as though this had not happened. After only a few years, the bullfights were eliminated and the Plaza de Toros abandoned.

In 1927, as the editor of the second edition of José Aguirre Achá’s book noted, the old Plaza de Toros or El Acho no longer existed as it had fallen down completely.

Conversando Saberes Que Germinan

The existence of human societies depends on the availability of the resources that surrounds them. For many years it has been observed that the climatic change affects health, water availability and food supply. It has been foreseen that in the short and long term these changes will have more negative affects on the socio-cultural, economic and political global patterns...

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