Hope is born in Chile…


…in the guise of a tiny baby girl:

Ariel Ticona, a miner, has a new reason to survive for a few months at 700 metres below the earth’s surface, where he has been trapped for 40 days along with 32 comrades. Today, his daughter Esperanza (Hope) was born via Caesarian section, according to a nurse who attended the delivery.

Esperanza arrived at 12:20, weighing 3.050 kilograms and measuring 48 centimetres long.

Her mother, Elizabeth Segovia, admitted to being “very nervous” before entering the operating room in the Copiapó clinic, 800 kilometres north of the capital city of Santiago.

Rarely in Chile does the birth of a baby attract so much media attention, especially from abroad.

Ticona had promised to be by his wife’s side when she gave birth, but the collapse in the San José mine on August 5 made it impossible for him to keep that promise. For that reason he asked his wife to allow the birth to be videotaped so that he could watch from 700 metres below ground.

The tape will be delivered to the mine, 50 kilometres north of Copiapó, and will be seen this very day by the proud father and his comrades.

The 33 miners communicate with family and friends in the little city that grew up around the disaster site–called “Camp Esperanza”–by way of videos and letters.

The recent installation of a fibre-optic cable in one of the narrow ducts from the surface to the disaster site allows the families to communicate directly with the miners.

In one of the first videos sent by the miners to the surface, Ariel Ticona appears, talking about his wife.

“She’s at home, because she’s pregnant, and now it won’t be long before our daughter is born and it won’t be quiet anymore. Tell her to change the name of our daughter…a kiss from a distance,” can be heard on the tape, broadcast on television by Channel 13. From down below, many miners can be heard shouting, “We will give you Esperanza (Hope)”.

In an interview with the same channel, the miner’s wife said that the baby girl was to have been called Carolina Elizabeth. She added that both had thought separately of changing the name, “but we no longer had to come to an agreement…he was thinking it there, and I was thinking it here, at home. We were going to call her Carolina Elizabeth, but now it will be changed to Esperanza Elizabeth.”

Translation mine.

Meanwhile, in news that should disgust us all, the mining company has decided not to pay the miners for the duration of their entrapment. The future of little Esperanza is by no means secure; the same greed and callous stupidity responsible for her father’s absence is depriving her of other vital life necessities. She and her mother have a major struggle ahead, and so do the families of all the others. It’s not just a disaster, it’s a scandal.

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