The billionaire President of Chile, Sebastian Pinera, has been milking the pain and suffering of the 33 miners that were trapped underground for all that it is worth.
But the carefully crafted photo-shoots with Sr. Pinera, all smiles, hides a deeper reality, other mineworkers at the San Jose mine have not been paid for two months.
Imagine, you are already short of money and then you don’t get paid for two months, that’s what the mineowners inflicted on the San Jose mineworkers.
These consequences of the accident largely go unreported, except for two small pieces on the BBC:
“But their colleagues have taken to the streets in protest because they haven’t been paid since the accident, which happened two months ago.”
And the returning miners face a grim future:
“Many have returned to poverty in the hardscrabble neighborhoods that climb the hills around Copiapo, the Atacama region’s gritty capital. Some have strained relationships with the families who held vigil, praying for their survival. All face a search for work since the mine that employed them has filed for bankruptcy.
Miner Carlos Mamani lives in a small green wooden house on an unpaved road in Padre Negro, a neighborhood on a hill where the glittering street lights of Copiapo stretch out like a carpet. But Padre Negro’s 38 houses lack access to sewers and running water. Mamani and his neighbors must walk for blocks to two public taps to get water and then carry it back up the hill.
“This area is dangerous at night. Drugs are sold here and there is theft. I’ve lived here for a while and I still have to be careful to avoid problems,” said one of Mamani’s neighbors, 15-year-old Jose Vadillo.
Some miners live closer to central Copiapo, in a neighborhood where gangs mark their territory with old sneakers hanging from electricity poles. Bugueno is among those living in Tiltil Bajo, a neighborhood of wood and tin houses that lack sewage connections.”