Humberto Vacas Gómez

Humberto Vacas Gómez (Quito, 1913-Quito, 2000) was an Ecuadorian writer, literary critic, poet, journalist, and diplomat. As a journalist, his career is tied to the Quito daily newspaper El Comercio. He served as the Minister of Education between 1963 and 1964 and President of the National Union of Journalists. He was a lifelong supporter of democracy and was persecuted by past totalitarian governments for this reason. In 1937, he published his first book of poems, “Canto a lo oscuro,” which was praised by Isaac J. Barrera in his book “Historia de la Literatura Ecuatoriana.” Vacas’ nonfiction books include “La educación artística de las masas,” “Panorama de la pintura ecuatoriana,”and “Los Estados Unidos que yo vi.” A school in Quito bears his name.


Humberto Vacas Gómez was an illustrious figure in the Ecuadorian literary and political spheres. His life was marked by significant contributions to diplomacy, education, journalism, and poetry. His work, leadership roles, and commitment to democracy and education significantly impacted Ecuador’s cultural and intellectual realms.

Life and Career

Humberto Vacas Gómez was born in Quito in 1913. Throughout his life, he held various roles, such as Minister of Education between 1963 and 1964, diplomat, and a key figure in the journalistic field. His relationship with the newspaper “El Comercio,” where he served as Subdirector, was noteworthy. He stood firmly in the cause of democracy, even under persecution by totalitarian governments.

Literary Contributions

Gómez’s first book of poetry, “Canto a lo oscuro” was published in 1937. His work is characterized by expressive and vivid imagery, as well as deep reflections on everyday life and human existence. The book was an audacious outcry to the generations, offering metaphors full of fresh and vibrant colors.

Vacas Gómez’s poetry has been commended for its brilliant and straightforward imagery, which evokes satisfaction for the spirit. His lyrical craftsmanship marked a new route in Ecuador’s poetic landscape. Works like “Canción de tu soledad y la mía” remain significant, demonstrating unique brilliance and tone.

His short story, “La Enfermedad Azul,” gained recognition when it was included in the anthology “Los mejores cuentos ecuatorianos” (El Comercio, 1948). The compilation was curated by Ines Barrera B. and Eulalia Barrera B.


Throughout his life, Humberto Vacas Gómez remained an active contributor to the Ecuadorian intellectual scene. His roles in the political, educational, and journalistic arenas were significant, but it was his work as a poet and essayist that truly resonated.

Despite facing opposition from totalitarian governments, Gómez remained steadfast in his dedication to democratic values, often reflected in his literary output. He continued to produce substantial works, especially in journalism, guiding Ecuadorian thought from his influential platform. His essays and chronicles were insightful, suggestive, and characterized by robust style and profound knowledge.

Selected works


  • Poemas: Canto a lo oscuro (1937)


  • La educación artística de las masas
  • Panorama de la pintura ecuatoriana
  • Los Estados Unidos que yo vi

In anthologies

  • “La Enfermedad Azul” in Los mejores cuentos ecuatorianos (El Comercio, 1948), compiled by Ines Barrera B., Eulalia Barrera B.

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