Bull baiting participant becomes victim of animal

The bull baiting at the Festeos de Palmares claimed a life Monday night.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that a man with the last name of Valverde died at a hospital in San Ramón because of damage inflicted by a bull.

The death also generated a statement from the Instituto Nacional de Seguros that said that these amateur bull baiters, called toreros improvisados, are not covered by riesgo de trabajo insurance policies. They need a separate accident policy, said the government agency.

Valverde, who was 29, is not believed to have had coverage.

Judicial agents said that mishap took place about 8 p.m. when Valverde was not able to avoid the bull, which hit him in various parts of his body, head and neck. The man was a security guard who was on his day off.

The Instituto Nacional de Seguros said that the sponsor of the Palmares event, the Asociación Cívica de Palmares, was counting on a riesgo de trabajo policy, a workmen’s compensation agreement, to protect the bull fighters. The association is believed to consider the bull baiters as workers.

Not so, said the firm known as INS, citing a list of laws and policy.

At the fiesta in Zapote, where similar activities are carried out with bulls, each person who enters the ring has to have a separate accident policy.

The spectacle involved a number of young men and women sharing the ring with a fighting bull. The animals have short attention spans, and the participants amuse themselves and the spectators by slapping the bull on the rump or otherwise taunting the animal. Once in awhile the bull gets revenge, but the persons being mauled usually suffer minor injuries because other participants distract the animal. Of more than 100 persons injured at the recent Zapote event, only 40 went to hospitals and clinics.

Valverde’s fatal encounter was taped by Television channel 42 and a three-panel photo series was the front page graphic in El Diario Extras Tuesday.

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