The Devil’s Miner is the story of 14 year-old Basilio Vargas and his 12 year-old brother Bernardino, as they work in the Bolivian silver mines of Cerro Rico, which date back to the sixteenth century. Through the children’s eyes, we encounter the world of devout Catholic miners who sever their ties with God upon entering the mountain. It is an ancient belief that the devil, as represented by hundreds of statues constructed in the tunnels, determines the fate of all who work within the mines.
Raised without a father and living in virtual poverty with their mother on the slopes of the mine, the boys assume many adult responsibilities. They must work to afford the clothing and supplies vital to their education. Basilio believes only the mountain devil’s generosity will allow them to earn enough money to continue the new school year. Without an education, the brothers have no chance to escape their destiny in the silver mines.