Colombia’s ‘Emerald Czar’ Calls for New Peace Deal

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Colombia’s ailing “Emerald Czar,” Victor Carranza, has called for a new peace deal with his rivals as fears mount over a new war for control of the lucrative emerald sector.

Carranza, along with the fellow emerald kingpins — the brothers Luis and Oscar Murcia — called for a new regional peace agreement in a letter written to his rival Pedro Rincon, alias “Pedro Orejas,” reported El Tiempo.

In the letter, Carranza called on the state and the Catholic Church to act as guarantors of the agreement and requested the “active presence” of the security forces and officials from the Ministries of the Interior and Mining.

The new agreement would replace the deal struck between Carranza and his rivals in 1990, which brought to an end the “green war,” which claimed the lives of at least 2,000 people.

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The peace deal brokered in 1990 has showed signs of fraying over the last year, with a rise in murders related to the trade and attacks on the interests and associates of Carranza –- who is believed to still exert a tight grip on much of the trade.Speculation that a new war is imminent has been fueled by Carranza’s battle with cancer, sparking a jostling for position among his rivals.

Emeralds are both lucrative in their own right and a means through which drug traffickers can launder proceeds. Carranza was jailed for three years for allegedly forming paramilitary groups, but the case was eventually dismissed.

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