Colombia supplies two-thirds of the world’s emeralds, some of the most finest. Crystal green perfections. Most of the stones are found in Western Boyaca province.
But given there is a huge profit to be made, gangs and criminals are attracted to the emerald business. In the end, civilians are caught in the escalating fire.
In the 1980s, Victor Carranza, or Don Victor, emerged as the emerald tsar. To many, he became a ‘Godfather’, a man to be both respected and feared; even by several presidents.
In 1990, Don Victor brokered peace among the esmeralderos, with the help of the Catholic Church.
He has also been accused of funding death squads, or paramilitaries.
But now, in his late 70s, Carranza is terminally ill, having survived prostate and lung cancer, as well as several assassination attempts.
Don Victor’s death will likely yield another bloody war for control of the emerald business.