Seventy year old Alejandro Llinás Suárez was the founder of the Junta de Acción Comunal (Community Action Board) in vereda Calabazo, Santa Marta, in the state of Magdalena.
He was a mechanical engineer who had served in the navy and was an environmentalist who worked to defend the Sierra Nevada. He was also a member of the Mesa de Victimas de Santa Marta (Committee for Victims in Santa Marta).
In the evening of 25 April, 2020, Alejandro was walking down the street in vereda Calabazo when he was shot dead. He had previously received threats because he had complained to the authorities about the presence of paramilitary groups in the area.
Llinás had written several times to the Governor of the state asking him to take action to prevent the paramilitaries taking control of the area. Two hours before he was killed he had called the police to tell them that he was in danger. They arrived 12 hours after Llinás was shot dead.
According to his sister, “Alejandro dedicated himself to helping the unprotected and defending social justice. His principles and ideals came first and he was never going to be intimidated.”
The Sierra Nevada is part of the route that connects Santa Marta with the carribean coast. There is an ongoing struggle for control of the area between the Clan del Golfo, and Oficina Caribe, which is supported by its armed wing the Autodefensas Conquistadoras de la Sierra Nevada.
Oficina Caribe has been the main paramilitary force controlling the drug trade in the region but is now fighting to maintain its power. In the last fifteen years thirteen different paramilitary groups have fought for control of the drug route, resulting in a steady escalation of violence.