Chile: Calls for Government Action One Year Since Rescue of ‘the 33′

Thousands flocked to the city center of Copiapó, Chile today. They gathered to remember the incredible rescue one year ago of 33 miners trapped underground for 69 days. Many more typed their respects using online media. Twitter users are calling upon the government to reignite the spirit of that coordination effort. They say politicians need to unite once again to fix problems plaguing Chile.

Harking back to the national feeling of togetherness from October 13 of last year, Chile’s President Sebastian Piñera (@sebastianpinera) tweeted:

Los 33 mineros nos enseñaron una gran lección: en los momentos difíciles la unidad y la solidaridad son claves para superar la adversidad.

The 33 miners taught us a great lesson: in the difficult moments unity and solidarity are key to overcoming adversity.

In August 2010, 33 flags were placed in the San Esteban mine in Atacama to support the 33 trapped miners. Image by Alex Fuentes on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Gonzalo Maza (@tengochicle) wrote that the government should do just that to work with Chile’s protesting students. Their progress is creeping forward considering the speedy government action during the rescue according to Maza. He tweeted:

Hace un año, el gobierno hacía esfuerzos extraordinarios por rescatar mineros. Hoy no es capaz de moverse un centímetro por los estudiantes.

A year ago, the government made extraordinary efforts to rescue the miners. Now, they don’t have the capacity to move a centimeter for the students.

Twitter user Don Gato (@rhon2008) thinks that attention should be focused on mining disaster stories sans photogenic happy ending. He tweeted:

27 mineros han muerto este año en accidentes,desgracia de 33,solo fue utilizada publicitariamente por el gobierno nunguna ley de proteccion.

27 miners have died this year in accidents, the misfortune of the 33 was used as publicity for the government without resulting in any laws of protection.

Jorge Añez (@Jorge_Anez) remains less than impressed with the government’s efforts to improve working conditions. He tweeted:

Espectacular rescate, pero no provoco el cambio esperado en las condiciones laborales #mineros #chilenos

Spectacular rescue, but it didn’t spawn a change that we’d hoped for in the working conditions #mineros #chilenos

But the national solidarity Chile felt for its 33 fellow countrymen, forced to overcome the unthinkable, hasn’t evaporated on Facebook. The “Fuerzas Hermanos Mineros de la Mina San Jose, de Copiapo” (“Be strong miners of the San Jose Mine of Copiapo”) Facebook page still boasts 52,429 fans. “Yo tambien apoyo a los 33 mineros Chileons atrapados” (“I also support the 33 trapped Chilean miners”) survived this year's Facebook spring cleaning. It still has 87,695 “likes.”

While politicians and visitors laid down the first rocks of a new memorial reservoir today, social media users pitched in their two-cents about where, how and why the government needs to construct new policies.

This post was first published in online citizen newspaper El Obervatodo.

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