HomeNewsBriefDeath of Emerald Magnate's Son Raises Tensions in Colombia
BRIEF

Death of Emerald Magnate's Son Raises Tensions in Colombia

COLOMBIA / 30 JAN 2014 BY MICHAEL LOHMULLER EN

Emerald miners in Colombia will soon meet with church and police representatives in an attempt to avert a bloody conflict, as ongoing tension highlights the government's failure to curb criminality in one of the country's biggest industries.

The recent death of the son of one of Colombia's most powerful emerald magnates Pedro Rincon Castillo, alias "Pedro Orejas," following a grenade attack late last year, has heightened fears that a new wave of violence could escalate, reported El Espectador. During the burial of her son Rincon's wife named a number of rival emerald merchants as those responsible for the attack, which killed four people in the mining region of Boyaca last November. Rincon himself, who is seen as Colombia's new "Emerald Czar" following the death of Victor Carranza last April, has been imprisoned for three months and was not allowed to attend the funeral. 

SEE ALSO: Colombia News and Profiles

Police Colonel Carlos Gutierrez told El Espectador that 150 extra police had since been sent to the area. Meanwhile, the church, regional authorities and businesses have asked the mining clans to renew peace accords made in 1990 following a series of "Green Wars" that killed more than 3,000 people. An associate of Rincon's said the talks were essential. "We want a zone of tranquility and peace," he said.

InSight Crime Analysis

Uncertainty has swirled around Colombia's emerald industry and its fragile peace since Carranza's decline and death. The emerald czar, while believed to have worked closely with paramilitaries and even directed his own personal army, ultimately signed a peace agreement with his major enemies and became a key figure in maintaining that peace (and controlling most of the profits). The grenade attack last November was a worrying sign that fears his passing would end this status quo were becoming a reality.

The tension highlights the lawlessness of the mountainous Boyaca region and begs the question of how the Colombian government still has such little control over one of its major industries. More than 25 years after the Green Wars broke out, the government has failed to rein in violence and criminality -- indeed quite the opposite, as it has spread to other mining sectors, particularly gold.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ILLEGAL MINING / 11 MAY 2022

Authorities have extended a state of emergency in Peru’s illegal coal mining heartland, already mired in criminality, following a sharp…

COLOMBIA / 14 JUN 2021

A former FARC leader and veteran drug trafficker has sided with ex-commander Iván Márquez, a move that could prove crucial…

COCAINE / 9 SEP 2021

A gang, which modified aircraft to be able to carry cocaine from Colombia to the United States and Mexico, has…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…

THE ORGANIZATION

‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…