CARTAGENA, Colombia — Police today shut down Cartagena’s convention center on the second day of the 2017 Latin America Adult Business Expo after local protesters showed up at the cam-centric conference beating drums and blocking entrances.
No official word has been made from LALExpo organizers over plans for tomorrow, the final day of the three-day conference, which was primarily held at the Cartagena de Indias Convention Center.
The fourth annual LALExpo got underway yesterday to large crowds that attended seminars and the showroom floor, where scores of adult industry sponsors showed off their exclusive models and services they offer. More than 1,300 were expected for the conference and awards program.
Today, however, LALExpo attendees, were shut out of the convention center, and many moved on to the conference’s other events held off-site.
Some, warned by those who made the trek to the convention center earlier in the day, stayed back at the host hotel, which is about 20 minutes from the convention center.
Industry attorney Corey Silverstein, who attended the LALExpo, told XBIZ that organizers are using all of their legal resources to get the show on track for tomorrow’s final day of scheduled events.
“The government clearly doesn’t want the show at the convention center,” Silverstein said. “It really is ridiculous.”
Silverstein went on to say that the organizers did a great job preparing for the show and that the first day of the event was very well-attended.
“It is a shame that a small group of people would interrupt the show over the issue of free speech,” Silverstein said. “For all intents and purposes, LALExpo was a private event. It is unfortunate that the government would interfere.
According to a published report by local media, police closed off the convention center to LALExpo attendees today because organizers did not have the "necessary entitlements" to put the show on.
The report also stated that the “release of inappropriate videos and photos in the surroundings of the convention center and in front of the mayor's office were also taken into account to suspend the event.”
Two months ago, the mayor of Cartagena publicly sought a ban on the LALExpo at the convention center, citing that its presence could signal a stamp approval for sex tourism in the Colombian town.
But, at the time, organizers assured their legal rights for the show and said that the conference would go on as planned.