Emerald seekers scour Colombia’s Muzo Valley, searching for the gem that could lift them out of poverty.
Muzo, Colombia – The struggle over land is Colombia’s oldest conflict. For decades the mines of Muzo – widely known as the “emerald capital of the world” – have produced great fortunes for their owners.
In the so-called “Green Wars” during the 1980s, territorial disputes escalated into full-blown conflict as the country’s leading mining families fought over territory.
In those days, the “barequeros” – emerald seekers who dig through debris – gathered by the thousands around the Muzo Valley, hoping that emeralds would arise from the dark soil to rescue them from extreme poverty. Continue Reading →