Another day older and deeper in debt, for sure

A little mood music, Maestro Ford…

And now, the story.

I saw on the CBC news this evening how they’ve brought up a hydraulic borer to help start the rescue effort for those 33 miners trapped 700 metres underground in Chile. A NASA psychologist is also on the way to them now, to make sure their mental health withstands the strain that lies ahead. There are concerns that some of the men are more isolated than the rest, because they didn’t appear in the video sent up to confirm that they are all still alive; these “isolated” ones, trapped in a less than 500 square-foot space, are the ones most likely to crack under the strain of the long wait ahead. With some four months to go before they’re free, it’s incredible enough already; it’s unprecedented.

But you haven’t heard the worst of it yet. If you wonder how the miners wound up in such an awful predicament in the first place, you can stop wondering now and just read this:

The owners of the mine in which 33 workers remain trapped since August 5 have said that they don’t know whether they can continue to pay the salaries of their employees.

Alejandro Bohn, one of the proprietors of the San Esteban mine, admitted as well that his company did not buy insurance for its workers, and lamented the economic deterioration of the company, according to the DPA press agency.

“Due to prolonged closure, we have experienced a significant economic deterioration and to date, we have not been able to remedy it,” said Bohn. “The company is calm considering that there has never been a precedent for a catastrophe of this type.”

The Chilean minister of mines, Laurence Golborne, reacted with immediate “indignation” to the declarations of the businessman, and said that the government would prosecute those responsible for the incident. “These declarations are incredible to me. I heard them and found them really surprising,” said the minister.

Golborne added that the incident showed a “lack of concern for safety,” pointing out that if there had been an emergency exit, the country would have been “spared this drama”. “We can forget the possibility that the government will bail out this business, which has comported itself this way.”

Translation mine.

Lax and shitty workplace conditions, and now this. No salaries. How are those miners and their poor families supposed to live?

You can really see how little has changed since Che Guevara and Alberto Granado wrote their respective angry analyses of the Chilean miners’ situation. And how current Tennessee Ernie Ford’s song is, not to mention universally applicable to miners throughout the Americas, whatever they dig up from the dirt.

If the right one won’t get you, then the left one will…

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1 Response to Another day older and deeper in debt, for sure

  1. Jim Hadstate says:

    Let’s hear it for the Chicago boys and their neo-liberal economics bullshit. And one of Augusto Pinochet disciple. Who took his marching orders from Richard Nixon and the rest of the Presidential gang who were all disciple of the bunch at the University of Chicago School of Economics and became the gods of the economy.
    So the mining inspector didn’t know this was going on? Hardly surprising when in the entire country of Chile, the department that supervises and inspects for mining safety regulations has been reduced to a grand total of 18 inspectors. For the ENTIRE country of Chile. To inspect ALL of its mines, not just the copper mines. 18 inspectors.
    I do hope Michelle Bachelet is sleeping well, since she had a free and clear opportunity to follow the Hugo-Evo model and insure that workers wouldn’t be killed by either making the companies comply or nationalizing them.
    Jeez, I hope those guys can stand the stress of living in isolation for 4 MONTHS before the can be mined out. And the ones that are further isolated are really in bad shape. It would be nice if they could find their way to the other guys. At least misery makes company.

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