I recently visited the cities of Quito and Cuenca in Ecuador. On one of the last days of our trip, we were walking in the center of Cuenca, a city I fell in love with. Just past the main square (which incidentally is called Central Park), there was a courthouse. I later learned that it is the Supreme Court of Justice ( Corte Superior de Justicia), an appellate level court that hears Civil, Criminal and Labor Law appeals.
I walked into the courthouse, and since I too work in a courthouse, I was most anxious to see the interior and learn more about the court itself.
I peered in and saw a magnificent setting, but first, there was a metal detector and a security guard. We were allowed in and began walking around the premises of this splendid courthouse. Like so many of the buildings in Ecuador, there was a courtyard in the center.
I found my way to the main office and presented my own business card. No one really spoke English there, and I don’t really speak Spanish, but somehow the message was conveyed that I was an attorney who worked in a court in New York, USA. Because of my business card – the director of the court, Esteban Flores, came out and greeted us and spent some time showing us around. I’m so glad I had my business card with me. What a gorgeous courthouse!
I was really taken by the large mural-like artwork at the Cuenca court by artist Hernán Illescas. Though I didn’t understand all of the symbolism, to me, it depicted the development and importance of human rights and the legal system among the people of Ecuador. Indeed, every mural includes a blindfolded Lady Justice and the Scale of Justice, and the struggles by poor or indigenous persons climbing from the bottom to the top. I was reminded of the artwork in the rotunda at the New York State Supreme Court which also depicts the development of law and justice through time and cultures.
I was quite moved by the experience. Even the floors at the court were exquisite!
Here I am with Esteban Flores, the director of the Cuenca Court of Justice, who took time out of his busy day to show us his beautiful court.
The Ecuador trip was a press trip sponsored by the Tourism Boards of Quito and Cuenca, and LAN Airlines. Expect many more blog posts in the near future about this fabulous trip.
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