“I tried to stay calm, but I was scared,” says journalist approached by thieves outside Guayaquil stadium

The Ecuadorian journalist who suffered a attempted robbery while doing a “live” in front of the Barcelona stadiumin Guayaquil (Ecuador), stage of the Libertadores final, next Saturday, between Flamengo and Athletico Paranaense, told PAGE NOT FOUND exclusively that, in the face of violence, he tried to remain calm in the face of criminals. “But I was scared”confessed Vanessa Robles, 29, a journalist at Teleamazonas, who has lived since birth in Guayaquil, the country’s largest city.

PAGE NOT FOUND: Weren’t you scared when you were approached by thieves on motorbikes?

VANESSA OAKS: I tried to stay calm because we were live, but I got scared. I was surprised by the audacity of the criminals. Even though we were live, they wanted to attack. I tried to convince them with this excuse that “the whole country would see them” and I am grateful that the theft was not consummated.

PNF: But since you were afraid, you didn’t think of running away from them?

VANESSA: At that time, I thought that if I run, my team stays and it is possible that they steal them and catch me. It was either flee or face the situation. So I stayed and tried to use all the rhetoric I could to make them understand that it was worse for them because the whole country would witness their evil deeds.

PNF: Is violence a serious problem in Guayaquil?

VANESSA: Violence is a challenge that, like the rest of the cities of Latin America, the economic capital of Ecuador has to face and, although we have lived with it, this year it has become a more complex task to solve due to the actions of criminal organizations operating in the area. Violent deaths exceed 1,200. This is the highest rate we have recorded.

PNF: Do you think Brazilian fans have reason to be worried about going to Guayaquil?

VANESSA: All tourists should take precautions when arriving in a new country. I am optimistic and I believe that after this incident, security measures will be intensified, especially because being the city of the Libertadores final implies an important economic reactivation that no sector wants to lose.

Vanessa Robles, journalist for Teleamazonas
Vanessa Robles, journalist of Teleamazonas Photo: Personal Archives

PNF: How did your fellow journalists react to the episode?

VANESSA: Everyone was very nice, I received messages from colleagues in my city, other provinces and abroad and even from many people I do not know. They immediately echoed the episode in other media as a wake-up call to take action.

PNF: Was this the worst incident of your career as a journalist?

VANESSA: I’m 29 years old. I’ve been covering the streets for six years. I’m not afraid to take the mic and go to dangerous areas to interview people, I do that all the time, but for the first time I was scared, but then my insides was overcome by calm, I felt peace despite the circumstances, it was my angel to continue to support me.

Vanessa Robles, reporter for Teleamazonas, Ecuador
Vanessa Robles, reporter for Teleamazonas, Ecuador Photo: Personal Archives

Meme: 'They're already selling the Teleamazonas microphone on the street for when they're going to steal it.  Say: We're live!'
Meme: ‘They’re already selling the Teleamazonas microphone on the street for when they’re going to steal it. Say: We’re live!’ Photo: Playback/Twitter

PNF: On social networks, many joke that the Teleamazonas microphone should be sold to scare away thieves…

VANESSA: (Laughs) Yes. There are a lot of memes on the networks. I like this mic. I also like the one who says I have “bigger and stronger ovaries than those ‘men’ who are afraid to visit Guayaquil”.

PNF: Who do you think will win the Libertadores final?

VANESSA: I shouldn’t say it, but let it be a secret: Flamengo.

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