To Chileans abroad, it is a familiar routine. You introduce yourself as hailing from that long sliver of land at the end of the world, once mockingly described by Henry Kissinger as dagger pointing straight at the heart of Antarctica. Chile's diffuse image, despite all the country it has going for it, seemed forever associated with General Augusto Pinochet.
That is, until October 13 14, when the rescue of 33 miners in the San Jos mine galvanised the world. In a time of war, recession, terrorism, pandemics, floods and earthquakes, this was the ultimate story of hope. The miners' endurance and fortitude are an example to all. The miner's lot is a harsh one. These men, from Florencio Avalos (the first one to come out) to Luis Urza (the last to do so) proved their mettle and ability to cope with the 69 day ordeal. Praise should also go to Greg Hall, the American mining engineer who figured out how to bore through 500 metres of volcanic rock to reach them, in the bowels of the earth underneath the Atacama desert.
Without teamwork they would not have survived. For 17 days, they shared scraps of food, parsed out in minimal daily rations. The international mining community, from Oakley Sunglasses Outlet Calgary to Calama, pitched in with their best men and women, tools and know how. NASA stepped up to the plate, helping the Chilean Navy to build the rescue capsule, 2 Australians, Americans, Canadians, Russians and South Africans were all there.
It even managed to bring Chile and Bolivia closer. One of the 33 miners, Carlos Mamani, the fourth to come up, is Bolivian. He had only been working at San Oakley Sunglasses Outlet Jos for 24 hours. Bolivian President Evo Morales paid a visit to greet him and told him Bolivia would provide him with a house. The miner responded to say that what he really wanted was a house in Chile.
Yet, this is also a story of the indispensable role of government in today's world. The potential tragedy was abetted by the irresponsible behaviour of San Esteban, the company that owns San Jos. With a history of safety violations, it pushed the limits in cost cutting, though the high price of copper and gold would have been bringing in hefty profits. The mandatory exit shaft