Ecuadoran Book Fair Draws Hundreds of Thousands

Posted by Milton Ramirez to Global Voices Online

Que mi alma se la lleve el diablo
One of the authors, Rafael Méndez while signing his book for fans who visited the ExpoLibro 2008 in Guayaquil-Ecuador – Photo by Milt.

The Guayaquil Book Fair (ExpoLibro 2008) recently came to a close, which according to organizers, drew hundreds of thousands of visitors with more than 210 stands [es]. This proves that the reading is not dead, as had been predicted with the arrival of the internet. Interest in literary works is alive and well in Ecuador and during this past week, four authors who are in different provinces of Ecuador contributed to the culture and literature of the country. Two authors are not well known in the field, but by no means, is their contribution any less important : Rafael Mendez and Luis Felipe Mora. The other two are men with extensive knowledge in the field of Sociology and has been on the political scene: Jose Bolivar Castillo and Oswaldo Hurtado, respectively. Some local bloggers provide reviews on these books.

Xavier Oquendo Troncoso provides a review of Que mi alma se la lleve el diablo (May the Devil Take my Soul) written by Rafael Méndez a popular blogger and poet from Guayaquil (Naranjal town). His book is about inspirational poems. Oquendo says:

Este poeta sabe “que la vida va en serio” y que la poesía puede ser el instrumento más loable para alcanzar, sin ningún lenguaje ríspido, el poema.

"This poet knows “that life is serious” and that poetry can be an instrument more laudable for achieving, without any rigorous language, poetry."

Now we have to head southern of Ecuador. VivaLoja [es] presents El Ecuador Austral (The Southern Ecuador) and published under patronage of CCE-Loja and the Binational Plan for Border Development, Ecuador Chapter. What is this book about?

La obra de carácter investigativa es una Monografía de la provincia de Loja con interesantes datos del cantón Zaruma (1930) contiene ilustraciones; pintorescas descripciones de pueblos y paisajes; datos estadísticos y noticias históricas y científicas, desconocidas hasta aquí.

"This investigative work is a monograph of the province of Loja using interesting data from Zaruma’s canton (1930) and contains illustrations, picturesque descriptions of people and landscapes; statistics and historical and scientific news, which had been unknown to date."

Dr. José Bolivar Castillo is a very visible personality for people from Loja and the entire country. He has been a Congressman representing his province and has served as Mayor of Loja on more than one occasion. Cohexista [es] is a blog hailing from the local Technical Universitiy and the author was present when the book Ecuador Equidad (Ecuador Equity) was launched:

…En sintésis habla sobre los hechos pasados, presentes, y propuesta acerca de la regionalización del Ecuador, se hace un análisis de las razones y justificaciones para ver con más pertinencia y objetividad la regionalización horizontal, creo que es entendible que es un tema que nos compete a tod@s los que hacemos país.

"In summary, the book talks about past and present events and proposals on the regionalization of Ecuador, providing an analysis of the reasons and justifications to see regionalization with more relevance and objectivity. I believe it is understandable that it is an issue which is incumbent on all of us to create a country in which we are all a part."

And finally, the new book of Oswaldo Hurtado Larrea, former president and vicepresident of Ecuador, La cultura de los ecuatorianos (The Ecuadoran Culture). María Isabel Punín interviewed him and asked him about the reason for his book:

Yo llevo 40 años estudiando los problemas sociales, económicos, políticos del Ecuador y buscando una explicación al hecho de que cuando están por cumplirse dos siglos de la independencia del Ecuador, o del territorio que luego se llamó Ecuador; y habiendo experimentado con diversos modelos económicos con nada menos que 19 constituciones, gobiernos de diversa naturales, por qué es que el país no ha progresado, quiero decir no ha progresado en los términos que eran posibles, como lo han hecho otros países del mundo que eran tan atrasados como el Ecuador. El caso más parecido es el de Korea y venía echando cabeza desde 1994 en que publiqué un primer ensayo, sobre que la explicación sea de orden cultural, esto es, que las trabas de desarrollo cultural no solo estuvieran en el sistema político, sino también en la forma en que los ecuatorianos nos conducimos: cómo trabajamos, cómo nos relacionamos, cómo cumplimos la ley, cómo pagamos los impuestos, como organizamos la producción.

"I have been studying the social, economic,and political problems of Ecuador for the past 40 years. I am seeking an explanation from the fact that during the time that Ecuador marks two centuries of its independence or from the territory that will later be called Ecuador; and having experienced various economic models along with no fewer than 19 Constitutions, governments of various natures, that why is it that country has not progressed, meaning that it has not progressed in possible terms, like other world countries that were as behind as Ecuador. The case is more similar to that of Korea, which was coming to light since 1994 when I published my first essay, which said the explanation was cultural in nature, meaning, that the obstacles to development are not only in the political system, but also in the manner in which Ecuadorians act: how we work, how we relate to another, how we follow the law, who we pay taxes, how we organize production."