Chilean Miners Send Note Saying They’re Alive; Rescue Operation Will Take 4 Months
August 23, 2010 By Staff
Today in Latin America
Top Story — The 33 miners trapped in an underground copper mine in Northern Chile are all alive, according to Chilean President Sebastián Piñera.
Piñera announced the news during a televised remark where he said that the miners had sent a written letter attached to a drill up a 2,300-foot hole to the surface.
“All 33 of us are well inside the shelter,” the note said, according to Aljazeera. “This came out of the ground. It’s a message from our miners telling us they are alive, that they are together,” Piñera added.
The miners, who have already been trapped for 17 days after a rock collapsed above them at San José gold and copper mine, may have to wait a long time before they return to the surface.
Andres Sougarret, who is heading the rescue operation, estimated that it will take four months to safely rescue the miners, according to Bloomberg.
The miners are trapped more more than four miles inside the winding mine complex, but are believed to be using water deposits and ventilation shafts to survive. Rescue workers plan to send food, hydration gels and microphones in plastic tubes down the hole to the miners.
Before the note was sent to the surface, the Chilean government said that there was little hope that the miners would be found alive.
“It will take months” to get them out, Piñera said, according to Reuters. “It will take time, but it doesn’t matter how long it takes to have a happy ending.”
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- An Afro-Colombian community is facing expulsion to make room for gold exploration. The eviction — originally scheduled for Aug. 18 — has been suspended by the courts twice, but the community’s situation remains precarious. Roque Planas has more.
- While the Obama administration and Congress inch toward loosening travel restrictions against Cuba, the trade embargo remains a firm fixture of U.S. policy toward the island. But the prospect of oil drilling in Cuba is prompting officials and analysts to rethink that policy. Raisa Camargo has the story.
- A new report by the advocacy group National Council of La Raza says that programs allowing local police to enforce immigration law are ineffective and misuse authority. Alison Bowen has the story at her blog, Beyond Borders.
- Documents declassified by the National Security Archive in Washington indicate that the Nixon administration advocated the use of death threats in order to save Dan Mitrione, a U.S. official who was kidnapped and executed by leftist guerrillas.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- The decapitated bodies of four men were found hanged by their feet from a bridge in Cuernavaca, in central Mexico on Sunday.
- Gay rights activists and Catholics faced off in a series of demonstrations over the weekend in Guadalajara, where Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez has stirred controversy by suggesting Mexico’s Supreme Court was bribed to uphold legislation allowing adoptions by same-sex parents in the capital.
- Senator John McCain, one-time defender of a legal pathway to citizenship for the country’s undocumented immigrants, has backtracked on his position as he heads into a Republican primary.
- The United States is prepared to take in Cuban political prisoners following their release from jail, Spain’s Foreign Ministry said Sunday.
- Wyclef Jean, the hip-hop star who had hoped to become Haiti’s next president, said Sunday that his lawyers would challenge the recent ruling from election officials that kept him from the list of eligible candidates.
- Dominican Republic’s economy will expand between 5.5 percent and 6 percent this year, the International Monetary Fund said on Friday, slightly raising its outlook for the Caribbean country.
- Jamaica’s opposition called Sunday for an independent investigation into who hired lobbyists to try to persuade the U.S. government to drop its extradition request for alleged drug lord Christopher “Dudus” Coke.
- Some Costa Ricans are wary of a U.S. warship’s plans to dock on its Caribbean shore.
- Obama appointed Mari Carmen Aponte as ambassador to El Salvador on Thursday, using his authority to bypass Senate confirmation during a recess.
- The Nicaraguan town of San Juan del Sur expects a boom in tourism after hosting “Survivor.”
- A prominent Venezuelan drug trafficking suspect who has been branded a major kingpin by the U.S. government was arrested in Colombia, police said Friday.
- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is taking his Sunday TV and radio program off the air until October during campaigning for legislative elections.
- A Venezuelan court has reversed a ruling that banned all newspapers from publishing violent photographs for the next 30 days after the judgment was roundly criticized as an attack on press freedom by the government of President Hugo Chávez.
- The founder of the once-fearsome Shining Path guerrilla group married his longtime lover on Friday in the maximum-security prison where he is serving a life term, a prison official said.
- A woman was killed after gunmen took 35 people hostage in Rio’s Intercontinental Hotel during a shootout with police on Saturday.
- Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo will rest on weekends during his chemotherapy treatment, according to the country’s Communication Minister.
- Recent polls show that Brazilian presidential candidate José Serra is trailing his opponent Dilma Rousseff as the country approaches its October elections.
- A Uruguayan court ordered an Argentine bus driver to stand trial for killing a family of five in a head-on collision in Tacuarembó province.
Image: @ Primero Chile @ Flickr.