With a statement revealing that they were victims of the insecurity plaguing the country, the the glorious bookstore announced the closing of its doors at its Old Kennedy location. “We have suspended physical care indefinitely until the wave of delinquency is moderately controlled, we will not compromise the integrity of our customers or our own,” reads the decision taken on May 27, removing their phones and emails from their social networks for fear of extortion vaccines. They continue to sell books in Guayarte and deliver by courier.

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‘The Glorious’ Bookstore.

But they’re not the only doors that have closed Livrariain Kennedy Norte, chose the same on April 21. “Unfortunately due to the insecurity in which the country lives, we are forced to temporarily close the branch in this city (Guayaquil)”he says in a letter to his readers, in which they emphasize that the requested books will be sent home.

Library statement.

The bookstore for the first time the purple house, in Urdesa, got an extortion call, it was about a year ago. “At the time I thought it was some kind of phone scam”call this Journal Maria Paulina Briones, who admits that reveals his identity with great fear.

In March of this year, the culture manager started receiving several calls from foreign numbers, the same ones she preferred never to answer until April 22 when she responded to one of them. “They told me they wanted to speak to me, with my first and last name, that They knew that La casa morada was a bookshop and that if I didn’t pay what they wanted, they would kill me. The number was the same number that called the first time, a foreign number. I closed the phone. I didn’t want to listen to the end.” tells.

His next response then was to call the public numbers to file a complaint. “They told me to go to the prosecutor’s office. This seemed like another problem to me. I thought if I called those help numbers it would be enough.” there stands that.

After seeing the cases of Livraria and La Gloriosa, he has thought about what measures to take, because he believes that it is no longer safe to keep the space. “I feel I cannot endanger my life or that of the people who still dare to visit the bookstore. And I feel that no one can help us on this point.”

“I think about my situation and that of other people. Maybe this time will help me rethink my life in Guayaquil. And well, that’s never a negative,” he says.

La Casa Morada in one of its traditional book garages. Taken from Facebook.

EL UNIVERSO went to several cultural managers and actors responsible for managing different cultural spaces in the city, and they all asked to reserve their identities, claiming that they did not want to expose the premises and that they feared for their safety and that of their employees.

“We always live in fear…that they will come and rob us at night”to this medium, the owner of a micro-theatre space, who since the crime wave increased, stated to this medium, strengthened its security “in a space that was never needed”.

This person demands more security from the authorities in the areas where these types of self-contained spaces are located. “We are the ones who activate the shopping area at night. We are also few in the area. That street is being thrown away,” he pointed out from the Circunvalación Sur, in Urdesa.

This inconvenience is not an isolated case, a bookstore in the north of the city, which wished to remain anonymous, said it had received calls from alleged extortionists. “The authorities must respond, The spaces that form the basis for education are cultural, To silence a culture manager is to silence the future of future generations (…) if the authorities don’t understand that cultural spaces educate, they don’t understand government policies,” the bookseller emphasized.

Briones sees as one of the alternative solutions that bookshops can occupy one of the empty spaces in the city and that they have security. “We are several people in the city who have been trying to create reading communities for years. In my case It is not just a small bookstore, there is a whole cultural project behind it.” it says in reference to the workshops, lectures, dialogues, launches and more activities, which, like many spaces, promote culture from different spheres.

“We chose culture and education because we are convinced that they are the answers to many problems and the opportunity to inhabit this world in a positive way. Every cultural space in neighborhoods of Guayaquil contributes to the development of citizenship. It cannot be that the authorities do not intervene in these matters.” claims.

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In Quito, extortionists and criminals have violated the tranquility of some cultural venues. The manager of a well-known bookstore in the north of Quito describes this problem as unfortunate. “It affects all of society, and independent art and culture spaces are no exception. There is a fear of going out and interacting. And that is reflected in the fact that people sometimes refrain from recreational activities and prefer to stay at home.”mentions.

“Theaters, cinemas, museums, bookstores and other places without people are struggling to survive and at the same time society is at risk of losing the opportunity to encounter, speak and experience culture,” he notes.

“Yesterday it was the pandemic that separated us, today it is the fear of insecurity and an apparent absence of the state to guarantee the right to mobility, peace and life. A frightened and trapped society loses its freedom,” he concluded.