Evo: I’ll be there!

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Being stuck underground for two months is a hellish ordeal. Fortunately for one hard-working Bolivian, and his 32 Chilean compañeros, the rescue tunnel has been drilled, and work crews are now shoring up its sides. Soon, an elevator will be sent down the shaft to bring up the survivors, one by one. And a classy president will be there to welcome them back to the surface. And no, it’s not who you think:

The president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, announced on Saturday that he plans to go to Chile in a few days to witness the rescue of the Bolivian, Carlos Mamani, one of the 33 miners trapped for 65 days in the San José mine in northern Chile.

“We will make every effort to reach and recover our brother. The president of Chile invited me and said we would be there at the moment of the rescue,” said Morales during a press conference in Cochabamba, Bolivia, according to Telesur.

The leader did not give an exact date for his trip, as he was waiting for “when they announce the beginning of the rescue of the miners,” said government spokesman Iván Canelas.

Translation mine.

It’s virtually a given that Sebastián Piñera would seize the occasion to be there. And nice of him to invite Evo, who no doubt has a good reason of his own for wanting to be there to see his brother Bolivian rescued. Bolivian mines are among the most treacherous in the world, and over the five centuries since the conquistadors, they’ve eaten more lives in the name of gold and silver (and later, tin) than anyone has bothered to count. For Evo, this marks a significant milestone: now, miners are no longer disposable people. They are valued. So much so that even presidents are on hand to see them plucked from what used to be a rocky grave.

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