Thursday, October 14, 2010
A White U.S. American Watches the Rescue Effort at the San Jose copper mine in Chile
Near Copiapo, now above ground, 32 Chilean men and one Bolivian man have reason to celebrate a job well done with their loved ones--namely, staying alive on very little food and liquid for a period of time in which most would perish. And not going insane. And not giving up hope that they would again see the light of day. There were many jobs to do: from organising the men trapped 2000 feet down inside the Earth's rocky layer, to portioning out food, to planning and completely the rescue mission. This was a collective effort and I believe the will of the Chilean people was a huge part of what made this effort successful. Including, of course, the wills and collaborative work of those 33 miners. I hope they remain well, or regain health. I know one of the older men is battling lung illness from being a miner since the age of fourteen.
It was kind of strange how Western reporters kept saying they are being brought back "to Earth" as if inside the Earth is somewhere else. It was also disturbing to realise I'd never in my life seen so many people from Chile on U.S. television, named. Indeed, South American non-Indigenous and Indigenous people are not usually on television at all in Chicago. It was striking to see a population of people who the U.S. media usually goes out of its way to ignore, carry a news story for so long. It made me think about how much closer we all might feel to one another if the Western media focused on stories that show the humanity of people it usually invisibilises or stereotypes, in part so that when the U.S. militarily invades these places, most U.S.ers will not feel like we know anything about the people there--including that they are people.
Throughout the Americas, South to North, there are many compelling and joyous news stories of people of color that warrant national and international Western attention. I look forward to the day when the stories of women are as compelling as the stories of men, where the women, too, end up alive. Because the news that sporadically makes its way up here is that Brown and Black women are found dead, all of them murdered by men. Names are often not given, and the lives of the women killed are not described as the men's lives below are described. This is the first time I've learned the details of the lives of anyone from South America. The U.S. media barely lets us know the names of countries and their presidents.
For now, I will keep joy in my heart, and on this blog, due to the successful rescue effort that all of Chile deserves to celebrate for a very long time.
What follows next is from *here* at CNN.
In order, the men pulled from the San Jose mine in Chile, with some anglicised details on each in the order that returned to ground level from the mine. (Esperanza is translated into English below as "hope".)
1. 12:11 a.m. - Florencio Avalos, 31, the second-in-command of the miners, was chosen to be first because he was in the best condition, and best able to deal with any difficulties that might arise.
2. 1:10 a.m. - Mario Sepulveda Espina, 40, captivated Chileans with his engaging personality in videos sent up from underground.
3. 2:08 a.m. - Juan Illanes, 52, is a married former soldier who urged his fellow miners to be disciplined and organized while trapped.
4. 3:09 a.m. - Carlos Mamani, 24, the lone Bolivian, started at the mine five days before the collapse. One of 11 children who emigrated because he could not find work, he has been promised a house and a job by Bolivian President Evo Morales.
5. 4:10 a.m. - Jimmy Sanchez, at 19, is the youngest miner and father of a months-old baby.
6. 5:34 a.m. - Osman Isidro Araya, 30, a father of three, had planned to quit the mine at the end of August because of the risk.
7. 6:21 a.m. - Jose Ojeda, 47, is a widower with no children who has diabetes. Two of his nephews were at the site to greet him.
8. 7:02 a.m. - Claudio Yanez, 34, is a drill operator who requested cigarettes be sent down while awaiting rescue and expressed disgust at the nicotine patches he received instead.
9. 7:59 a.m. - Mario Gomez, at 63, is the oldest of the miners. He also is the most experienced, having first entered a mine shaft to work at age 12.
10. 8:52 a.m. - Alex Vega, 31, who is married with two children, had been saving to buy a house and move out of his parents' home. His father helped in rescue efforts - using a false name because officials prohibited relatives from doing the dangerous work.
11. 9:31 a.m. - Jorge Galleguillos, 55, was injured in at least two earlier mining accidents. He has 13 brothers and requires medication for hypertension. Officials have promised to help his son, who is a university student.
12. 10:11 a.m. - Edison Pena, who is 34 and married, was reportedly among the most depressed of the trapped men and asked rescuers to send down a photo of the sun. He tried to run every day for exercise, and is a fan of Elvis Presley.
13. 10:54 a.m. - Carlos Barrios, 27, is the father of a 5-year-old boy. He is separated from his wife.
14. 11:30 a.m. - Victor Zamora, 34, was an auto mechanic and laborer who has worked at the mine for five years. He sent up poems to his wife, who is pregnant, and is the father of a 4-year-old boy. While underground, he complained of tooth pain.
15. 12:07 p.m. - Victor Segovia, 48, kept a diary of life below, asking those above to send down more pencils and paper. He has five children, is an electrician and plays guitar.
16. 12:49 p.m. - Daniel Herrera, 37, was a truck driver and taxi driver. Herrera is single; his mother and sister have been waiting for him at "Camp Hope," the relatives' encampment outside the mine.
17. 1:38 p.m. - Omar Reygadas, 56, helped organize life below ground and reportedly survived other collapses in the mine. A widower, he has six children, 14 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, including one born while he was trapped.
18. 2:49 p.m. - Esteban Rojas, 44, proposed a church wedding "once and for all" in a message to the woman he married in a civil ceremony 25 years ago. They have three children.
19. 3:27 p.m. - Pablo Rojas, 45, reportedly went to work at the mine six months ago to help pay university fees for his son, who is studying medicine. He is married.
20. 3:59 p.m. - Dario Segovia, 48, is a lifelong miner whose father first took him underground at age 8. Twice married, he had three children from each marriage. He had worked at the mine for three months, drilling holes for dynamite. He has 12 brothers and sisters.
21. 4:31 p.m. - Johnny Barrios Rojas, 50, worked for 25 years at the mine and served as the medic for the group because he'd had first aid training. Awaiting above are relationships that need healing as well: his wife and his lover met at Camp Hope.
22. 5:04 p.m. - Samuel Avalos, 43, is married with three children, had been working as a street vendor and got a job at the mine for more money.
23. 5:32 p.m. - Carlos Bugueno, 26, found himself trapped alongside a childhood friend, Pedro Cortez. A passionate soccer fan, he asked to have game broadcasts piped below. Relatives said the former security guard went to work at the mine to earn money for a car and house.
24. 5:59 p.m. - Jose Henriquez, 55, formed and led a prayer group while trapped and had friends send 33 small Bibles down the tiny supply hole. Chilean reports say that in January he helped save several miners who had passed out in the mine, apparently due to gas, and had to be rescued himself when he was overcome returning for another miner. Married with twin daughters, he has spent 33 years in the mines and survived a landslide on the surface in 1986.
25. 6:24 p.m. - Renan Avalos, 29, is the brother of the first man out. He had worked at the mine five months.
26. 6:51 p.m. - Claudio Acuna, 35, proposed to his girlfriend Fabiola Araya from below ground. He has two children.
27. 7:18 p.m. - Franklin Lobos, 53, a former professional soccer player, drove the bus that carried the miners to work. Lobos was a midfielder on the Chilean teams La Serena, Iquique and Cobresal, and was on the national team that qualified for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. He has two daughters.
28. 7:44 p.m. - Richard Villaroel, 23, is returning to his wife, who is in the late stages of pregnancy.
29. 8:13 p.m. - Juan Carlos Aguilar, 46, has worked as a miner since he was 19. He is married with two children.
30. 8:37 p.m. - Raul Bustos, 40, a hydraulic engineer, was caught up in both of Chile's two recent tragedies. The tsunami caused by February's earthquake destroyed the shipyard where he worked. So he journeyed north to work in the mine — two months before he was trapped there. He would travel back 20 hours by bus to visit his wife and two children.
31. 9:01 p.m. - Pedro Cortez, 25, an electrician, helped install the communications system used to talk back and forth with the surface. He lost a finger in an earlier mining accident. He and his wife are separated and have one daughter.
32. 9:28 p.m. - Ariel Ticona, 28, was still awaiting rescue when his wife gave birth to their second daughter. They named her "Hope." He worked with Cortez to install the underground communications system.
33. 9:55 p.m. - Luis Alberto Urzua, 54, shift foreman at the time of the collapse, is widely credited with helping the men survive by enforcing tight rations of their limited food, lights and other supplies. Speaking for the miners shortly after their discovery, he told Chilean President Sebastian Pinera: "We hope that all of Chile shows its strength to help us get out of this hell."