Perched on Colombia’s northern coast, Necoclí is an idyllic paradise fringed with palm trees, deep blue Caribbean waters and a lush tropical rainforest that tumbles from the mountains into unspoilt golden sands.But over the last few decades this haven of serenity and natural beauty has been trapped under a dark cloud of unimaginable horror. It has kept the tourists away and left 70% of the town’s population victims of violence. Few have been spared, not even Necoclí’s most famous son.
Straddled in the gateway between South America and Panama, Necoclí lies in strategic territory where right-wing paramilitary death squads, drug cartels, the army and guerrillas have been locked in a ceaseless struggle for control since the 1980s. The victims are ordinary folk and as a lorry driver for a fizzy drinks company, Guillermo became yet another senseless death.For the struggling family he left behind, there were few opportunities. On the breadline Marcela desperately chased work and was eventually forced to move south to Apartado to work in the city’s banana factory.