Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Back in 1993, I climbed 500 feet down a coal shaft in the central mountains of Colombia, trespassing on a 'hacienda'-farm- which belonged to a supposed drug lord of the Medellin cocaine cartel, to come across dozens of children working in the coal pits underground, in the dark, without air.
In the dank and cramped tunnels, I found abject poverty and desperation. Conditions similar of the children workers in the mills and mines of Victorian England. And while the local thugs, paid to protect the ranch, drove around on their motorbikes intimidating the townspeople and throughbred horses grazed in the emerald green hills of Angelopolis- translated from latin as The city of Angels- beneath the surface of this pleasant coffee town, some 50 miles southwest of Medellin, existed a tragedy of children forced to work the coal 'pits' as cheap labour- child slaves in this City of Angels.