Raúl Pérez Torres

Raúl Pérez Torres

Raúl Pérez Torres (Quito, May 11, 1941) is an Ecuadorian writer and cultural promoter. His short story collection En la noche y en la niebla won the Casa de las Américas Prize (Havana, Cuba) in 1980, one of Latin America’s oldest and most prestigious literary awards. In 1995 Pérez’ short story Sólo cenizas hallarás won the Juan Rulfo Prize (France) and the Julio Cortazar Prize. From 2000-2019, Pérez served as the president of the Ecuadorian House of Culture in Quito, and from 2017-2019 served as Ecuador’s Minister of Culture.

Raúl Pérez Torres – A Prominent Ecuadorian Writer and Cultural Figure

Raúl Pérez Torres, born on May 11, 1941, is an Ecuadorian writer, cultural manager, and former Minister of Culture and Heritage of Ecuador. He is known as one of Ecuador’s most important contemporary voices in narrative fiction. Pérez Torres has received numerous honors and awards for his literary works.

Early Life and Literary Career

As a writer, Pérez Torres started his career with the collection of short stories titled “Da llevando,” published in 1970 by Populibros. During the 1970s, he was a member of the editorial team of the literary magazine “La bufanda del sol.” He published several books during this period, including “Manual para mover las fichas” (1973), “Micaela y otros cuentos” (1976), and “Musiquero joven, musiquero viejo” (1977), which won him the National José de la Cuadra Award.

Recognition and Awards for Literary Works

In 1980, Pérez Torres won the Casa de las Américas Prize for his collection of short stories titled “En la noche y en la niebla” (In the Night and Fog). His story “Sólo cenizas hallarás” (Only ashes you will find) (1995) also received recognition, winning the Juan Rulfo Award in France as well as the Julio Cortázar Award.

Active Involvement in Cultural Management

Apart from his writing career, Pérez Torres has been actively involved in cultural management. He served as the director of the magazine “Letras del Ecuador” of the Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana (House of Ecuadorian Culture).

Appointment as Minister of Culture and Heritage

He was appointed as the Minister of Culture and Heritage of Ecuador by President Lenín Moreno on May 24, 2017.

Controversy and Resignation as Minister

However, his tenure faced criticism from directors of the provincial centers of the Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana, who accused him of not complying with the regulations regarding budget allocations for the centers. Pérez Torres resigned from his position on June 26, 2019, just hours before appearing before the National Assembly’s Commission on Education, Culture, Science, and Technology, where he admitted to not fulfilling the regulations due to their perceived inapplicability.

Literary Style and International Recognition

Pérez Torres’s works often explore everyday occurrences within a political framework. Latin American studies scholar David Foster Williams has praised Pérez Torres for his ability to connect these occurrences with the political context that shapes them. His writing style, characterized by colloquial dialects and forthright characters, challenges conventional norms and captivates readers. Williams also suggests that Pérez Torres’s works transcend national boundaries, indicating the potential for his writings to be published abroad and contribute to the world of Ecuadorian literature.

Adaptation of Works in Film

Furthermore, one of Pérez Torres’s short stories, “When I Liked Soccer,” was adapted by Chilean filmmaker Andrés Wood for his acclaimed trilogy, “Football Stories.”

Role as President of Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana “Benjamín Carrión”

Raúl Pérez Torres served as the President of the Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana “Benjamín Carrión,” from 2000-2019, an important cultural institution in Ecuador, making him a very influential figure in Ecuadorian literature and cultural affairs.

Controversy Surrounding Raúl Pérez Torres: Political Impeachment in the National Assembly

In October 2019, members of the National Assembly of Ecuador, Juan Cristóbal Lloret and Lira Villalva, initiated a political impeachment process against Raúl Pérez Torres for allegedly not complying with the Law of Culture during his tenure as Minister of Culture and Heritage. The impeachment trial took place on January 15, 2020. However, the motion for censure only received 59 affirmative votes out of the required 91, so it did not result in Pérez Torres being removed from office.

The main accusation against Pérez Torres was related to the allocation of the budget for the National Headquarters and Provincial Branches of the Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana (CCE), an institution dedicated to promoting and preserving Ecuadorian culture. The Law of Culture, passed in 2017, stipulates that the Ministry of Culture and Heritage should focus on formulating public policies for the cultural sector, while the allocation of resources to the CCE should be determined independently. However, Pérez Torres was accused of making budgetary decisions for the CCE despite the legal provisions.

Critics argued that the distribution of funds was inequitable and centralized, with over 50% of the resources being concentrated in the CCE’s National Headquarters. This led to protests from various branches of the institution and sparked a crisis in several cities across the country. The controversy also highlighted the need for a more decentralized approach to cultural funding and management.

Despite the impeachment process, Raúl Pérez Torres remained in office as Minister of Culture and Heritage until June 2019 when he voluntarily resigned. The outcome of the impeachment trial demonstrated that the necessary number of votes for censure was not reached, and Pérez Torres was not removed from his position.

Raúl Pérez Torres interview (in English)

Year created unknown. Uploaded to Youtube in 2015.
Raúl Pérez Torres on the show La Caja de Pandora.
Circa 2009 – 2015.



  • Da llevando (1970)
  • Manual para mover las fichas (1973)
  • Micaela y otros cuentos (1976)
  • Musiquero joven, musiquero viejo (1977)
  • En la noche y en la niebla (1980)
  • Un saco de alacranes (1989)
  • Los últimos hijos del bolero (1997) – translated into Polish as Ostatnie dzieci bolera by Anna Stąpór in 2011.
  • Solo cenizas y otros cuentos: antologia personal (2000)
  • Usted es la culpable: cuentos de amor (2017)
  • Papiro ciego: antología (2004)


  • Teoría del desencanto (1985)
  • Fresa y chocolate: el lobo, el bosque y el hombre nuevo (1999), Brief novel which explores the theme of homosexuality in post-revolutionary Cuba.


  • Poemas para tocarte (1994)


  • La mano que habla (2017)


Breves apuntes sobre la literatura ecuatoriana y norteamericana (1997)

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