Today in Latin America
Top Story — Engineers in Chile are reinforcing an escape shaft with the hope of freeing the 33 trapped miners by Wednesday, as the miners argue over who will be the last one out.
The miners have been trapped underground for more then two months after a rock collapsed above them at San José gold and copper mine.
“I questioned them and mentioned we were working on an order in which they would be brought out. I said the order would be determined by technical factors,” said Chilean Health Minister Jaime Manalich, according to AFP.
“And what was their reaction? ‘Mr. Minister, that’s fine but I want to go last please.’ And then another guy said, ‘No, my friend, I said that I was going to be the last one up.’ ‘No, no, really — I want to go last, please,’ another guy started saying.”
Chilean engineers are using sixteen steel tubes that are being inserted into the top of an almost 700-yard-deep shaft, that they say will hopefully prevent the walls from falling in and blocking the escape route. Officials and geologists are also using video-cameras that analyze the entire length of the shaft to see if there are any sections where the tubes might get caught in the curvy lower sections of the shaft.
“We are going to double-check everything that is necessary until we are convinced that the system functions,” said Laurence Golborne, Chile’s mining minister, according to the Washington Post.
Medical precautions have also been taken to ensure the miners physical and mental health during their time underground. Aspirin to prevent blood clots, a special drink to settle the stomach and video monitors to watch for panic attacks have all been utilized by doctors during rescue operations.
The chief medical officer of the rescue operation, Dr. Jean Romagnoli, said that once rescued, the miners could suffer a number of maladies including partially collapsed lungs from shallow breathing, eye damage from the darkness, fungal diseases and Vitamin D deficiency.
Health Minister Manalich also worries that the miners could suffer from dizziness or fainting spells during the rapid ascent from the shaft and even panic attacks.
The rescue team plans to start constructing the winch that will lower and raise the 26-inch-diameter rescue capsule today.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- Photojournalist James Rodríguez explores the controversy surrounding Goldcorp’s Peñasquito Mine in Mazapil, Mexico.
- A new report from the Pew Hispanic Center finds that the Latino vote leans toward the Democrats in advance of mid-term elections. Alison Bowen has more at her blog Beyond Borders.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Federal immigration officials announced Friday that they arrested and initiated deportation proceedings this week against 15 undocumented immigrants who had been convicted of sex crimes and were living in Virginia and the District.
- Authorities are searching for a pair of Mexican brothers they suspect in the reported border-lake shooting of a missing American, a police official in the border state of Tamaulipas said Sunday.
- The mayor-elect of a small town near Oaxaca state’s Pacific coast has been shot to death, the latest in a string of politicial figures who have been slain in Mexico this year.
- Mexico’s attorney general is offering $1.2 million for information on 14 children who disappeared from orphanages in 2009, the presumed victims of a child-trafficking ring.
- Cuba will release into exile in Spain a lawyer jailed for allegedly revealing state security secrets and two hijackers, none of whom were on a list of 52 political prisoners the government has agreed to free in a deal with the Roman Catholic Church.
- The United States should only support November elections in Haiti if they include all eligible political parties, a group of U.S. lawmakers said, warning they saw signs of flaws that could be a “recipe for disaster.”
- Three adults and an 8-month-old girl were murdered in an area near Anamoros, a city in eastern El Salvador, but the motive and authors of the killings are not known, the National Civilian Police, or PNC, said.
- A moderate 5.5 magnitude earthquake struck 20 miles (32 kms) from San José, Costa Rica on Friday and was felt as a strong tremor in the capital of the Central American nation, the U.S. Geological Survey and witnesses said.
- The Dutchwoman in the ranks of Colombia’s Marxist FARC rebels is on their international committee, according to an email found in a computer of slain rebel leader Mono Jojoy, released Saturday by President Manuel Santos.
- Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez nationalized a large U.S. and Italian-owned fertilizer plant on Sunday, a new sign the socialist leader is speeding up his state-led revolution following legislative elections last month.
- Ecudorean President Rafael Correa has extended his declaration of a national emergency.
- Evo Morales, Bolivia’s leftist president, signed an anti-racism law on Friday that his opponents say could be used to stifle media criticism of his government.
- Brazil’s Workers’ Party presidential candidate Dilma Rousseff leads opinion polls going into the run-off elections later this month.
- Argentina asked Britain to stop conducting military exercises on the disputed Falkland Islands.
Image: Benja 🙂 @ Flickr.