Álvaro Narváez Daza was president of the Junta de Acción Comunal (Community Action Board) and a member of the Consejo Comunitario Palenque la Torre (Community Council of Palenque la Torre) in the municipality of Mercaderes, Cauca.
He had spoken out many times about the violence of armed paramilitary groups in the area and their attempts to force people to grow coca.
On 29 April, 2020, Álvaro was murdered when armed men opened fire on his house in the community of El Vado, district of Mojarras and shot him dead. They also killed his wife, his son and his granddaughter. Another son was injured in the attack.
Álvaro’s daughter Efigenia returned from Bogotá to look after the two children who had survived the massacre and to take over the farm. She also spoke out about the threats that the family had received and showed the leaflets that had appeared in the village saying “Álvaro, estás muerto” (Álvaro you’re dead).
6 months later the killers struck again.
On 30 October, 2020, 5 gunmen stood outside the house and opened fire with high powered weapons.
Efigenia and her Aunt Betsy (Àlvaro’s sister) were killed immediately. Efigenia’s husband Yamith Ibagué made a run to the back of the house and managed to get 800 metres before he too was gunned down.
The only surviving member of the family is a 7 year old boy.
He survived the first massacre because a cupboard fell on him. On the second occasion neighbours found him hiding under the kitchen table.
It is believed that both massacres were carried out by a dissident element of the FARC, the Frente Carlos Patiňo, which had threatened Àlvaro many times.