SINCE the coronavirus pandemic, when she forged a reputation for opposing the pandemic policies of the central government, the regional premier of Madrid, Isabel Diaz Ayuso, has become well known for her outspoken views on not just local matters, but also issues affecting the rest of Spain. 

This week, she weighed in on the drought that is currently affecting the northeastern region of Catalonia, and that this week saw a series of restrictions brought in to combat the water shortage.

The reason for the environmental disaster that has befallen the region, according to the Partido Popular politician? The closure of Barcelona’s bullring.

“I don’t know of any place where prosperity and freedom have led the way after the closure of a bullring,” she said, in reference to the 2015 closing of the Plaza Monumental in Barcelona due to waning interest in the spectacle among locals.

Ayuso President Of The Community Of Madrid Speaks About Accusations Of The Pp
Madrid’s regional premier, Isabel Diaz Ayuso. Photo: Juan Carlos Rojas

“The complete opposite,” the conservative politician, 45, continued. “What came after was drought, political control, and indoctrination.”

Apart from blaming a natural phenomenon such as drought on the bullring closure, she was also referring to the ongoing independence drive in the northeastern Catalunya region, which has been constantly in the headlines in recent months thanks to Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s amnesty deal covering anyone facing charges or already convicted for their role in the secession attempts over the last decade. 

“Madrid loves bulls,” she continued in the speech, made on Thursday at the presentation of Madrid’s 2024 San Isidro local fiestas. “Because it knows that in some afternoons and in some fights, there are moments of beauty that are thrilling.”

The popularity of bullfighting has been in steady decline in Spain for years now, but for parties such as the PP and far-right Vox it is still considered to be a vote-winner. 

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