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World Reactions: Rescued Chilean miners

Alexandra Fouche | 11:03 UK time, Thursday, 14 October 2010

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera with last rescued miner Luis Urzua


Commentators from across the world give their takes on the Chilean miners' rescue.

The editorial in the Australian praises the selflessness demonstrated throughout:

"The only note of disagreement in yesterday's extraordinary rescue of the 33 miners trapped 700m underground in Chile since August 5 was who should be brought out last.
"It was a great reflection of their solidarity and friendship that after such a horrifying ordeal, they were more inclined to tell each other 'you first' rather than 'me first'."

The Editorial in Australia's the Age defends the Chilean prime minister against accusations of self-promotion:

"The recently elected President Pinera has allowed the rescue to become a media spectacle for the world, and there will be some who see a cynical motive in this. Certainly his presence at the shaft head as the miners are winched up, and his close involvement in planning of the rescue, have increased Mr Pinera's popularity with his fellow Chileans. But he should not be condemned for that.
"In a world in which stories of disaster, destruction and loss of life are all to easy to find, the miners' tale of survival against the odds has captured the imagination of people everywhere. And it is a tale that has wrought changes for the better even in the often-contorted politics of South America.
"The fourth miner to be raised to safety, Carlo Mamani is the only Bolivian in the group, and President Evo Morales of Bolivia was there to greet him. Mr Morales is one of the continent's most radical politicians and Mr Pinera is one of its most conservative, but the shared experience of the rescue has created a bond between them."

Columnist for Germany's Die Bild Alfred Draxler explains his personal connection with the miners:

"The miracle in Chile has touched us all deeply. And we've realised that God is a miner!
"My old father, a miner from Gelsenkirchen, was once trapped. When he was rescued, there were no cameras, no reporter. But when he saw the images from Chile, tears came to his eyes."

Christian Ultsch in Germany's Die Presse asks why the world was caught up in the story:

"It wasn't cheap voyeruism that drew people to their televeision screens. They didn't want to wallow in the misfortune of others. They wanted to rejoice with the miners and their families. And as the little boy cried as he finally embraced his father after 69 days, many around the world will have shed a tear too...
"Of course, there are more important and momentous events than the rescue of 33 miners from Chile's Atacama desert. But people don't just need information, but now and then stories full of pathos that confirms their belief in the power of love and hope."

Spain's El Pais has praise and criticism of the Chilean authorities:

"The embrace of the survivors created a space, albeit for just a short while, for joy and hope in a truly difficult time. And it shouldn't be forgotten that a few months previously, again with supreme efficiency, the Chileans had to deal with the effects of a devastating earthquake...
"If just a part of what has been spent on rescuing the miners had been spent on safety, then perhaps the accident would never have happened."

Mexico's El Universal asks what can Mexicans can learn from the Chileans and compares Chile's disaster with one in Mexico in 2006 when a blast at a coal mine killed 65 men:

"Comparing the two disasters is like comparing apples and pears. But we can compare attitudes. While the Chileans faced the tragedy together and with spirit, in Mexico everyone was more interested in apportioning blame than in finding solutions. That is the lesson the Chileans have given us."

Online newspaper Gazeta Kemerovo quotes a letter from Kemerovo governor Aman Tuleyev, who runs a big coal-mining region in Siberia. He sent a letter of support to Chile's ambassador to Russia, Juan Eduardo Eguiguren, as the rescue was in progress. He said miners, their families and the whole of the Kuzbass region had been following the rescue keenly, feeling for the Chilean miners with heart and soul.

"Their release from captivity underground is an example of amazing solidarity and mutual support, it truly is a 'Chilean miracle'."

The Russian news website ER carries comments by the chairman of the Russian miners' union, Rosugleprof. Ivan Mokhnachuk says a Russian rescue would have been more successful:

"As for the rescue equipment, I think that if something similar were to happen here in Russia people would invent something even better and cleverer, based on the technology of mining rescues. But nothing like this has happened before anywhere in the world."

In contrast, China's Global Times reports Chinese miners say their working conditions are worse than Chileans':

"Zhao Weixing is a survivor from a mining accident. He said usually only big mines have shelter areas which miners can use during emergencies. During the two months underground period, the Chilean miners had milk, beef, rice and fruits as their food. While for Zhao Weixing, he only had tree roots and dirty water when he was buried under a collapsed mine. There was no way of communication. Zhao said there's a huge difference between the two countries' mining industry. Whenever he watched reports about the Chilean rescue, he thought to himself, how wonderful Chilean mines were."

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