Paco Benavides

Paco Benavides, born Javier Palmiro Benavides (San Gabriel, Carchi province, December 4, 1964 – Bern, Switzerland, June 24, 2003), was an Ecuadorian writer, poet, painter, and sociologist. He was a founding member of the Matapiojo writing workshop, which aimed to socialize the means of literary production. His notable work, “Historia natural del fuego” [Natural History of Fire], garnered recognition in 1990. His other poetry books include “Viento Sur” (1995), and “Tierra Adentro” (1995). After relocating to Bern, Switzerland, with his wife, he continued his literary and artistic pursuits. His passing on June 24, 2005, in Bern saw his remains transferred to Quito, Ecuador, leaving behind a wealth of unpublished writings, paintings, and installations. His last known work, “X, (vida y milagros” was published posthumously in 2021.

Early Life and Education

Paco Benavides, born Javier Palmiro Benavides, was an Ecuadorian writer, poet, painter, and sociologist. He was born on December 4, 1964, in San Gabriel, Carchi province, Ecuador, and passed away on June 24, 2005, in Bern, Switzerland.

Benavides grew up in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, where he completed his primary education. He then attended the Borja Academy No. 3 for his secondary studies. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Political Science from the Central University of Ecuador. His undergraduate thesis was titled “El festejo alcohólico: ensayo de interpretación socio-antropológico” (The Alcoholic Celebration: Essay on Socio-anthropological Interpretation).

Matapiojo Writing Workshop

In the late 1980s, Benavides was part of the founding group of the “Matapiojo” writing workshop, along with Diego Velasco, Edwin Madrid, Víctor Vallejo, Pablo Yépez Maldonado, Diego Gortaire, Susana Struve, and many others. Matapiojo had a utopian proposal to socialize the means of literary production.

Literary and Artistic Career in Switzerland

In 1990, Benavides published his first recognized literary work, “Historia natural del fuego” (Natural History of Fire). He married Franziska Berger, a healthcare professional from Switzerland who was temporarily studying Spanish in Quito, and they moved to Bern in 1993.

In Switzerland, Benavides continued his literary and artistic work, leaving behind several unpublished writings. He worked as a Spanish language teacher and engaged in various activities but never found a job that fully utilized his abilities and potential.

In February 1995, his work “Viento Sur” was chosen by the Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana to be the first in the collection “Los cuadernos de Rimbaud.” In 1997, he published his poetry book “Tierra Adentro,” dedicated to his parents.

Personal Interests and Influences

Benavides had a passion for chess and even played long-distance games. He enjoyed bullfighting, music, and soccer. In his later years, he developed an interest in astrology. He admired Picasso, whose influence can be seen in a significant part of his artistic expression.

Legacy and Passing

During his almost ten years in Switzerland, Benavides translated literary works, contributed to artistic media with his literature, participated in radio programs, and ultimately focused entirely on pictorial creation. He left behind dozens of paintings and installations. After years in Switzerland, he divorced Franziska.

In late June 2003, Benavides passed away alone in his home and was found several days later. His body was cremated, and his remains were transferred to Quito, where they rest in one of the columns of the Cementerio del Batán.

His last known work, “X, (vida y milagros” was published in 2021. Originally intended for publication in 2003, before the poet’s passing, this long-awaited release through the digital poetry library, Alfabeto del Mundo, allows readers to delve into the profound words of a talented creator. It serves as a testament to the enduring power of his work, transcending time and ensuring his artistic legacy continues to resonate.


X (vida y Milagros) (2021)
  • Historia Natural del Fuego, Quito, 1990
  • Viento Sur, Quito, Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana, 1995
  • Tierra Adentro, Quito, 1997
  • X (vida y Milagros) (2021)

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