Francisco Javier Cervantes Florez

Source: La Opinión


51 year old, Francisco Javier Cervantes Florez was a native of Gamarra (Cesar) and leader of the local settlement. He was working to seek progress for his community.  At the time of his killing, one of his projects was to build a school for the inhabitants in the area, as he was a bricklayer.

The Killing

At 11:25 on the 11th March 2019, while he was sleeping next to his wife, he heard strangers shouting for him to open the door.

Although she initially replied that she was alone, the assailants insisted, until Cervantes decided to open the door of the house and face the situation.

At that moment, Cervantes was hit by several bullets which ended his life immediately, right at the entrance to their property.

“When I heard the shots, I covered my face and suddenly I saw my husband fall to the ground and I was paralysed,” his wife said.

Members of the Inter-Institutional Brigade against Homicide (Brinho) arrived at the scene to inspect and lift the body.

The judicial investigators found two 9-millimeter pistol shells, which were collected to be used in the investigation.

His wife said she knew no problems or threats against her partner;

“We had plans to grow old together here at the ranch, but now they killed him and it seems incredible that that should have happened,” the woman added.

Land Problem

Col. José Luis Palomino, commander of the Cúcuta Metropolitan Police, said authorities are analysing a hypothesis that indicates that the crime could be the product of a land dispute.

They are interested in ‘Causa,’ the Venezuelan leader behind the La Línea gang.

The official presumes that those responsible are Venezuelans who are looking to take over this sector.

However, he assured that the police are on the trail of this new faction and will be able to capture the perpetrators.

The Cervantes’ family said that for fear of reprisals against them, they will leave the property where they have been living for  little more than a year with the victim.


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Department/Province/State:Norte de Santander



Date of Killing:11/03/2019

Type of Work:Community leader

Sector or Type of Rights the HRD Worked On:ESC Rights

Sector Detail:Land Rights

More information:Front LIne Defenders

1This database records an individual's chosen gender identity. If they do not self-identify as male or female they can use the option of recording other/neither or use the term NBGI (non binary gender identity).