Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Friday, 5 August 2011

Chilean miners live in poverty a year after saga -

Chilean miners live in poverty a year after saga - 
 They have an exhibit at the Smithsonian and a line of toys depicting their epic rescue. But most of the 33 men whose saga in a collapsed mine captivated the world a year ago face a new crisis today: poverty.
The miners became celebrities of sorts as soon as the details of their underground ordealbegan to trickle out. The men were greeted by a burst of fanfare when they emerged after 69 days, and many expected their lives would improve with their newfound fame.
But back home in the mining town of Copiapo, most of the men have been unable to find a new way to earn a living, forcing them back into a life underground. They still live in their old rickety houses, where the cold desert nights and scorching days have compounded mental and physical health problems stemming from the accident.
And while Chileans mostly seem to ignore them these days, some of the miners have been publicly criticized for speaking engagements while simultaneously suing the government that rescued them, on allegations that it allowed a dangerous mine to operate. Although their trips have been all-expenses paid, few of the men say they have made money off their appearances.
“There are people, for example, in a store who walk up and get angry at you. I didn’t choose to travel, I don’t have the money to travel,” Edison Pena said in a radio interview. “And if we had remained underground? And if there were only a big cross with our pictures on it? Would that be better?”
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