Chi, Chi, Chi, le, le, le, Miners of Chile!

With the entire world riveted, the last miner, Luis Urzua, rose smoothly out of the small hole in the ground, prompting an eruption of applause and cheers.

After a warm round of hugs and a "muchos gracias" to one and all Luis answered a few questions from Presidente Piñera. Then led by Piñera, who urged everyone to "sing with our helmets on our hearts," the crowd removed their helmets and sang the national song of Chile, con mucho gusto. Next the crowd of Chileans and international media chanted the cheer that met each miner as he left the Fenix, "Chi, Chi, Chi, le, le, le, Miners of Chile!"

The whole thrilling story was live and totally transparent. Transparency is far different from how our Norte Americano disasters or resues are handled. Here the media never gets close to the raw story, it gets carefully controlled statements from media experts well trained in the art of spin. i guess we're unable to accept either the raw ecstasy of victory or the agony of defeat except within the confines and rules of sport, the Chilians aren't. Only we in the 'developed' world require filtering lest someone might do or say something politically incorrect. Our press is free to publish anything that doesn't ruffle their sponsors feathers.

It was a unifiying event worldwide but, like most industrial disasters, it didn't have to happen. The mine had only one exit route which is totally illegal here in Canada. Chile does have some bare bones safety regulations but they are usually ignored by the mining companies who simply pay a few dinero to the regulators and inspectors so they'll look the other way.

The miners themselves are quoted, not just in Copiapo but everywhere in Latin America, as being scared every time they enter a mine. Why would these obviously intelligent, hard working, robust men go underground in those conditions for an average wage of $1 US dollar an hour? Because that's what their fathers and their fathers did. Because there are few choices if a man wants to rasie and love a family than to go underground, to dig gold and copper so the richos become richer. It was a milagro [miracle] to the predominately Catholic Chilians, a real live drama for me and a lesson about the courage common folks are capable of in uncommon times.

"I would like to thank the Chilean people, thank you very much for rescuing our brother, Carlos Mamami, Bolivia will never forget, this is a historical moment, and this unites us more every day. These events are fostering greater trust between Bolivia and Chile." - Evo Morales, President of Boliva