The Chilean miners: two weeks later

President Sebastian Piñera greeted the miners as they emerged. Photo credit: Mabel Flores

President Sebastian Piñera greeted the miners as they emerged. Photo credit: Mabel Flores

Following the rescue of the Chilean miners from their underground incarceration, the interest of the world media has wandered elsewhere.

In Chile however, the drama of this event continues in the newspapers, and the new-born celebrities have begun to eschew the solidarity that so aided them whilst trapped over 2,000 feet below ground for a total of 70 days.

The preparation of the miners for their rescue, who styled themselves as ‘Los 33’, or ‘The 33’, for the outside world began with the delivery of legal contracts and media training lessons, alongside the usual food, water, and other provisions.

During their entrapment the group of thirty-three men were afforded rock-star status by the people of Chile, and in the days prior to rescue the crowd which had gathered at mine created a carnival atmosphere.

The miners have been quick to discover that the world above ground is completely different compared to the one they inhabited before the disaster. They have been offered gifts, holidays, and have boosted the Chilean president’s leadership within the country.

Everyone wants a piece of the miners, and even rival churches are bickering over which had a hand in ‘the miracle’ as they perceive it. During their ordeal they were flooded with job offers, and several have capitalised on their newfound celebrity.

Mario Sepulveda, now affectionately known as The Presenter due to his YouTube videos of the miners underground, was subject to a speculative bidding war by numerous television stations. However he has stated that he wishes to remain a miner.

Jose Ojeda, the man who wrote the note ‘estamos bien en el refugio los 33’ to signal that they were still alive after 17 days, has now copyrighted the message. The message has adorned t-shirts, flags and mugs as a symbol of hope.

Family disputes have also erupted, and the media has begun to probe the pasts of the survivours.

One of the miners awaited rescue in the knowledge that his wife was waiting for him alongside his mistress, his adultery only exposed by the disaster. The miner, Yonni Barrios, has since been offered $100,000 to be the face of extramarital dating website.

Several miners are finding the intense pressure of the public glare too much to cope with. Drinking problems have allegedly arisen, Edison Pena has been hospitalized following an anxiety attack during a live television interview, and fellow survivor Mario Gomez has expressed his hope that “all of this quiets down pretty soon”.

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