Emerald Cowboy | 2003
Colombia has long been terrorized by the infamous left wing guerilla organizations FARC and ELN. Other groups that threaten national security are privately financed armies of mercenaries, and paramilitaries. The terror is directly linked to money and the country's limited resources--both legal and illegal. The precious Colombian emerald has long been a celebrated gemstone in history by figures like Cleopatra, ancient philosopher Pliny, Shah Jahan, the builder of the Taj Mahal and the Roman Emperor Nero. Esmeralderos are the last of a dying breed; they are rugged treasure hunters who thrive off the harsh Colombian mines. They deal with rough emeralds fresh from the mountains. The story centers upon the dangerous existence of miners who harvest these precious gems--specifically, the rise of one miner in particular, a Japanese businessman from Los Angeles named Eishy Hayata who became a legend in the emerald world and was nicknamed, the Emerald Cowboy. A former Airline engineer, Hayata moved to Colombia in the 70's, and with six guns at his side, fought his way to the top of the emerald industry by 2000.