Luis Alberto Costales

Luis Alberto Costales

Early Life and Education

Born on December 24, 1926, in Riobamba, Ecuador, Luis Alberto Costales grew up amidst the rural landscapes of his native region. His formative years were spent on his family’s farms, where he developed a profound connection with the land and its people. Despite facing hardships and challenges, including the loss of loved ones and the stern upbringing by his father, Costales’ early experiences shaped his resilient personality and ignited his passion for literature and philosophy.

Costales pursued his education with determination, attending prestigious institutions such as the Simon Bolivar School and the San Felipe Neri School in Riobamba. In 1945, he embarked on his academic journey at the Central University of Ecuador in Quito, where he delved into the study of International Studies. It was during this time that he began to explore his literary inclinations and engage with prominent intellectuals of the era at gatherings like the “Café Bohemia,” where he forged lasting friendships with renowned poets and writers.

Career and Interests

Costales’ career spanned various domains, reflecting his diverse interests and talents. He held prominent positions in both academia and politics, demonstrating a keen commitment to serving his community and advancing social causes. In the political arena, he rose through the ranks of the Radical Liberal Party before co-founding the Democratic Left Party, where he played a pivotal role in its early development and ascent to prominence.

Beyond politics, Costales was deeply engaged in agricultural pursuits, drawing inspiration from the natural world and finding solace in his farmhouse retreat in Guano. His dedication to farming mirrored his philosophical outlook, rooted in principles of simplicity, harmony, and reverence for the land. Throughout his life, he remained a passionate advocate for education, serving as a teacher and mentor to countless individuals, instilling in them values of integrity, compassion, and civic responsibility.

Literary Career

As a poet and writer, Costales left an enduring legacy through his evocative and thought-provoking works. His poetry, characterized by a blend of lyricism and epic themes, captivated readers with its exploration of love, patriotism, and the human condition. Drawing inspiration from classical traditions, Costales infused his verses with a deep sense of imagery and emotion, inviting readers to ponder life’s complexities and transcend temporal boundaries.

His literary endeavors culminated in the publication of several acclaimed works, including “Bucólicas y Una Vida Simple,” “Sobre el Pomo de la Tierra,” and “Exiliado en el verso,” each offering a glimpse into his profound insights and philosophical musings. Through his writings, Costales sought to illuminate the beauty of his surroundings, celebrate the richness of Ecuadorian culture, and inspire others to embrace the power of language as a tool for expression and enlightenment.

Awards and Accolades

Costales’ contributions to literature were duly recognized during his lifetime, earning him prestigious awards such as the First Prize in Poetry awarded by the Institute of Modern Arts in Quito in 1993. Despite never receiving the coveted Eugenio Espejo Prize, Costales’ influence on Ecuadorian literature remained undeniable, cementing his status as one of the country’s most revered literary figures.

List of Awards

  • Primer Premio Arte Moderno Quito (1993) – First Prize in Modern Art, Quito.
  • Primer premio intercolegial histórico-literario (1942) – First Prize in Intercollegiate Historical-Literary Contest.
  • Primer premio por La Declaración de los Derechos del Hombre (1950) – First Prize for the Declaration of Human Rights.
  • Primer premio poesía cósmica, Casa de la Cultura y Consejo Provincial de Pichincha (1982) – First Prize in Cosmic Poetry, awarded by the Casa de la Cultura and Provincial Council of Pichincha.
  • Primer premio en el concurso nacional de poesía geológica (poema canto cósmico) – First Prize in the National Contest of Geological Poetry

Political Life

Luis Alberto Costales became involved in politics around the year 1959 when he joined the Radical Liberal Party. In the late 1950s, Costales entered the political arena, joining the Radical Liberal Party. Over time, he rose through the ranks and eventually co-founded the Democratic Left Party. The party was established as an independent movement and held its first convention in 1970, with Costales serving as its first National President. The party grew in prominence and became a significant political force in Ecuador by 1986.

Costales’ political career also saw him serving in various capacities within the party and the government. He served as Provincial Director of the party for eight consecutive years and was elected as a councilor of Riobamba Canton in 1962. He was later appointed councilor of Chimborazo Province in 1963 and served as Chairman of Chimborazo Province in the same year. In 1960, he worked as the presidential campaign manager for Galo Plaza Lasso, demonstrating his strategic acumen in political campaigns.

Throughout his career, Costales played a pivotal role in shaping Ecuadorian politics. He acted as the presidential campaign manager for Dr. Andrés F. Córdova in 1967, showcasing his influence and leadership within the political landscape. Additionally, he played a significant role in raising Dr. Rodrigo Borja Cevallos to the Presidency of the Republic.

In 1988, Costales was appointed as Provincial Director of Region 5 of the Social Security Institute of Ecuador (IESS), where he demonstrated his administrative skills and commitment to public service. He was elected as an alternate deputy for the Democratic Left Party in the Province of Chimborazo in 1991, further solidifying his position within the party’s hierarchy.

One of Costales’ notable contributions was chairing the Chimborazo Patriotic Board, which examined border disputes with Peru, highlighting his dedication to safeguarding Ecuador’s territorial integrity and national interests.

Personal Life

“In his personal life, Costales found fulfillment in his roles as a husband and father, sharing a deep bond with his wife, Violeta Terán, and their six children: Luis, María, Carlos, Lucía, Susana, and Lourdes Jacqueline. Notably, daughters Susana Costales Terán and Jacqueline Costales de Torres have distinguished themselves as writers in their own right. Susana, a talented poet and writer, has twice served as president of the Association of Contemporary Women Writers of Ecuador, Matriz Chimborazo, and is known for her profound contributions to literature and culture. Jacqueline, an accomplished poet, writer, and former university professor, has received numerous accolades, including the prestigious “Doctora Matilde Hidalgo de Prócel” Award from the National Assembly of Ecuador for her significant impact on Ecuadorian culture and education. Costales’ commitment to family values and the cultivation of high moral principles extended beyond the confines of his home, shaping his interactions with colleagues, students, and fellow citizens. Throughout his life, he remained guided by a strong sense of duty and integrity, leaving a lasting impression on all who had the privilege of knowing him and his family.”

Death and Legacy

Luis Alberto Costales passed away on February 1, 2006, after battling incurable lung cancer, leaving behind a rich legacy of literary and political achievements. His death marked the end of an era, but his influence continued to resonate in the hearts and minds of generations to come. Today, Costales is remembered as a visionary poet, a principled statesman, and a dedicated advocate for social justice and human dignity. His writings continue to inspire and enlighten readers, serving as a testament to the enduring power of literature to transcend barriers and shape the course of history. In Riobamba, his memory lives on through a majestic monument erected in his honor, a fitting tribute to a man whose life exemplified the timeless values of courage, compassion, and creativity.


  • Bucólicas y Una Vida Simple
  • Sobre el Pomo de la Tierra
  • Exiliado en el Verso
  • Rutas de Sombra y de Sol
  • Cuadernos Culturales (1978)
  • Antología Poética (Ateneo de Chimborazo, 1979)
  • Canto Cósmico (1982)
  • Letras del Ateneo de Chimborazo (1984-1986)
  • Sobre el Pomo de la Tierra (2005)
  • Bucólicas y Una Vida Simple (2005)
  • Exiliado en el Verso, Tomos I y II (2009)
  • Rutas de Sombra y de Sol (2011)
  • Piel Adentro (2019)

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