Curious, appalled, or interested? Either way, it is part of the latino culture and has been an active bloodsport for as long as anyone can remember. I’m talking about Cock Fighting, either to mutilation or bloody death, two roosters aka cocks enter and 1 exits. Internationally famous and illegal in most countries, the authorities just seem to look the other way in Panama.
For a long time, this bloody and gambling fueled past time has been present in the interior, rural parts of Panama, but now it has begun to reemerge closer to the capital.
If you find this appalling – stop reading.
Rules of Cockfighting
There are four 15 minute rounds, with 15 minute breaks between each. A sharpened metal spur called a gaff is attached to one leg on each of the birds.
You may not realize that roosters actually grow their own spur here, but it gets removed when they’re young to prevent them from killing each other — something they do naturally.
This new artificial gaff is added to give the animal its weapon back, and help speed-up the killing process. In some countries like India, the bird’s natural spur is never cut off and is used in matches as-is.
In the town of Veracruz, just across the Bridge of Americas spanning the Panama Canal, 20 minutes from downtown you’ll find a beach town that for many years was considered a red zone, too dangerous to venture into. I personally remember these times just 5 years ago, where going into the town was not a smart move.
However, within the last few years a new beachfront broadwalk has emerged with numerous bars and beach clubs that will rage through the early morning into the following day. Since Veracruz is technically a different city, the curfew laws of the capital, Panama City, do not apply. Laws are more lax over here.
In light of which, a new cockfighting ring has appeared. If you’re looking to see what the commotion is about then you can check it out, gamble, and hope for the best. Get loud, get drunk, and try not to lose all your money. Don’t worry about the cops, they are in there gambling too!
For those who want the private experience, they are offering to open up the cockfights on demand for a price. Can you imagine – a private cockfight?