Miners & Media: True Life Reality Show

Where is the fine line between bringing human interest into the news and invasion of privacy? As the world hungered for more of the unfolding story of Chile’s 33 trapped miners, media coverage of this tragedy with a happy ending drew its share of criticism. And now that the excitement has wound down and these guys are heading into the aftermath, I can’t help but reflect on what lies ahead for them.

President Sebastian Piñera & 33 miners in Copiapó Hospital (Photo by José Manuel de la Maza, courtesy of the Presidencia de la República de Chile)

Privacy, Human Interest, or Media Circus

I hopped into a Santiago taxi shortly before 8:00 PM on Tuesday, October 12, anxious to get home. The rescue mission was scheduled to begin, and I had 33 miners on my mind. I asked the driver about the news. And, as often happens when I talk with cabbies, he gave me something to think about.

Chiss! No po! Ya me aburrí!” he said, flipping his right hand in the air as Chileans so often do when they are telling you they’ve had it up to here with something. And then he launched into an argument he had clearly been thinking about for quite a while.

“The journalists are all over these guys and their families. Why do they have to muck around in their private lives? Why can’t they just leave them alone?”

Ah, I thought, the media circus argument. He wasn’t the first to express it. I had seen numerous newspaper columns, Facebook comments, and even Tweets calling for a back off. I wanted to hear what this guy had to say. I brought NPR into it.

“I listen to the US radio on the internet and they were interviewing the women who were getting their hair done so they’ll look nice when their men come home.”

“Ah… that. Look, they gave these women passes to the salon so they can get dolled up. But face it. These are not good-looking or classy women. They are short and fat and not at all pretty; it’s just pathetic to play with their feelings like that.”
Wow, lots going on between the lines in this conversation!

“But they’re still the women who these men love, and they want to look their best when they finally come home,” I countered. I mean, hey, who doesn’t want to primp a bit for an important occasion?

“That’s fine, but why is that news? Journalists will do anything for a story…” he says.

I go for the human interest angle: “I thought it was interesting that the women said that the psychologists had warned them not to change their looks, not to get new cuts or different hair colors, etc. I’d never thought about how that kind of thing might affect someone in a situation like this, how they remember someone one way and the stress it could produce to find them looking different.”

He rambled on for another five minutes or so about the pack of wolves that the media are, “They keep sticking cameras in people faces when all they want is to be left alone,” and how they bring out the worst in people. “There’s this one woman who’s always the first in line to be interviewed; all she wants is attention, and even when someone else is talking, she gets behind them to be sure she’s on camera. No po…. I’ve had it with all that.” He suddenly went silent… fixed a brown eye on me through the rear view mirror.

“You aren’t a journalist, are you?”

I let a sly grin work slowly across my face, cocked my head, and looked him square in his mirrored eye. “Yes.” And let him squirm a moment before I qualified my answer. “Sort of. I’m an anthropologist, but I write a lot and work with journalists…”

He backpedaled—something about, well, not ALL journalists, but, but, but… I let him off the hook, and agreed that yes, there are those who are overzealous and even unscrupulous, but that the human dimension, the putting oneself in the other’s shoes is an important part of understanding a situation, of developing empathy… and you can drop me right here on the corner, thanks.

But he left me thinking. In these times when television viewers are so absolutely drawn to the anything-but-real and so-called reality shows, here is a true life situation unfolding day by day that beats the scripted ones by a mile. Of course people want to know.

I’ve never followed a reality show, and in fact only began to follow this real life drama more closely as the end approached. But I have to admit that the human factor of it all truly captivates me. The psychological aspects of the 33 who managed to survive below—and how they will now survive above. The cultural aspects of the families who set up camp on the hillside, determined to wait for them to come out—dead or alive. The business culture that could allow the owners of the mine to just wash their hands and walk away from it all. The expectations on all sides that may or may not be met. All the makings for fairy tales and great disasters.

In the days between their discovery and their rescue, many details of these men’s private lives made headlines. How much of that was really necessary? Do we have the right to rearrange the skeletons in these guys’ closets? To further upset distraught families with prying questions? Or for attention-seeking neighbors and acquaintances to offer up information that isn’t theirs to reveal? These guys didn’t ask to become famous. They just went down a hole day after day to bring back a paycheck.

Much more will come out about these guys now that they have been released. They are unintentional heroes, and people want to know who they are. They will be hounded. They will be paparazzi fodder. That was made clear as last night’s news showed the disturbing results of a frustrated welcome home party when one miner called his mother and said he wasn’t going to her house when he was released from the hospital, but to his partner’s house (apparently the two women don’t get along). The entire barrio—which had been waiting to celebrate with him—took it badly, and the planned celebration ended with the mother fainting, a TV crew filming an ambulance arriving, the neighbors tearing down and stomping on the welcome home signs, and a step-sister shouting “You’re dead to me weón!” And the guy’s not even out of the hospital yet!

Of course everyone has heard about the guy who’s two women—his legal wife and his current partner—showed up to wait for him. The original story made it sound like they only found out about each other at the camp. This morning’s La Cuarta newspaper, however, set the story straight in a juicy interview with the woman with whom he has lived for the past five years and who claims that the legal wife only showed up when she learned there was money involved. That, and some TMI-type details that left way too little to the imagination about her plans for their first encounter.

As a foreigner, as an anthropologist, there is solid cultural information that I can glean from these stories. In fact, gossip, rumors, and snooping is one of the ways that members of any given group learn and reinforce behavioral norms. Attentive outsiders can also pick up clues about how a culture works: perceptions of class differences run deep; family ties are strong; mothers and daughters-in-law compete for attention; marriage laws that include joint property entitle estranged wives to financial benefits; sex sells and La Cuarta is not the classiest paper in town; there are all types of people in any society; some people are ultra-private, some are extra-extroverted, some hunger for attention, some privilege money over all else, and more.

It’s natural that we want to know their stories,  but the question remains. What do these 33 men owe us?
Or should the question be what do we owe them?

Related posts:

33 Miners, Comin’ Up!
Viva Chile, Mierda!


62 responses to “Miners & Media: True Life Reality Show

  1. Fully agree with the taxi driver and his sentiments about (most) of the media. I do not remember the name of the person who said “To a journalist, a human being is an item with skin wrapped around it.”

  2. Rivera Letelier, hombre del norte, ex-minero escribió en El país el artículo “Treinta y tres cruces que no fueron”.

  3. I’m with the cabbie. Unfortunately, I believe that the miners ordeal will continue above ground. I disagree with John Carr. I don’t think journalists would recognise anybody as a human being at all if there was a’story’ (i.e. money and circulation figures) to be had.
    Sorry to be cynical but my (brief) experiences with the media give me no reason to think differently.

  4. Hola María Soledad- Leí ese artículo y otros de él y lo tenía muy presente todo lo que dijo cuando escribí este post. Es excelente. Gracias por agregarlo.

  5. John- make that quote “To SOME journalists”!!

  6. Hi Jack- I agree that the miners are likely to have a hard time of it now. Much will be expected of them and they are just regular guys who were just going about their business until the shaft caved in on them. They have been thrust into a limelight that they are probably going to have a difficult time with–and I’m not only thinking about the media–their families, friends, neighbors, fellow employees–in fact, everyone they ever meet for the rest of their lives will expect something of them. Their lives have been changed forever.
    I’m sticking with the SOME journalists bit… I know a lot of journalists, and most of them are really good people!

  7. I am back in the US at this time so I saw things from the US/world angle. Everyone here, almost without exception, loves this story and loved the humanity of it. And people want some good news. This story captivated the world. So much media showed this event live, throughout the night. People that hardly could find Chile on a map were so happy, so thrilled. I read a lot of online media and many have a comment section. One largely political site had 10,000 comments-compared to to perhaps 2,000 on a hot political issue. And 99% were well wishers, youtube song tributes, Viva Chile! Here is that link for everyone who would like to read the comments.


    The world loves the miners and their ordinary families-and I haven’t seen a thing about wives getting their hair done. And there were more with mistresses of course(It is Chile) but that is not the focus of anyone here. And now everyone knows what “CHI CHI CHI…LE LE LE” means :)….

    As this story puts it, it was a story of not only Chile but worldwide cooperation

    The Chile mine rescue showed off the nation’s mining and engineering expertise, but the efforts were sped up and bolstered with international assistance, including drills and workers from Canada, NASA specialists and a 13-ton drilling tool from the United States, and a drilling consultant from Australia.


    Many more stories like that-the guy that broke through is from Denver, Colorado, as am I. I have to say President Pinera was correct to ask for international help. And Chilevision probably gets the first interview. Not sure but I think a sale to Time Warner is in the works?

  8. Hi Laura- Thanks for reiterating how important the human angle is and how (and why) so many people from around the world felt engaged in this story.
    The hair salon interview was on NPR on Tuesday, Oct 12 (not a trivial piece either, I might add). I loved the human side of it.
    I think that this story DOES help put Chile on the map and in a good way. For a country that has been so concerned about its “Imagen Pais,” I think it just did a heck of a job showing the world what it’s made of… and yes, I agree- it is important to know when to ask for help. I think the situation was handled quite well, despite the criticism… but as I said, I wonder what the effects of so much media attention will be on these guys and their families once they try to settle in to “real life.” We may want more from them than they are able to give.

  9. I’ll look for that piece on NPR. Overwhelmed by media here at times! You’re right, maybe we want too much. But (the names escape me), there were a few miners that put on a show as they came out. Especially one. I think the ones that enjoy the limelight the most will have it. I hope.

    But I think the attention here was because they are ordinary. Which is a nice change from US obsession with the rich and famous. Actually I think these economic times have been good for people in a way. They seem to be realizing somewhat exactly what is really important.

  10. I know what you mean Margaret and when I wrote my post I said “I fully agree with the taxi driver and his sentiments about (most) of the media”.
    I would be less than honest if I altered Fred Allan’s quote.

  11. Woops, his name was Fred Allen, not Allan.

  12. @Laura- I agree that the fact that these guys represent the “everyman” is a large part of their appeal. That and the fact that this everyday Joe’s (or José’s) were able to pull off such an amazing feat fills us with admiration and fills us with hope. And yes, some of those guys, especially the second one up (Mario Sepúlveda I believe) with the souvenir rocks and the ceachi was wonderful!
    I just hope things don’t get out of hand for them! Balance is the key I guess!

    @John- yes, I know you were quoting… but I have to be true to my journalist friends and colleagues who do NOT fit this category! 😉

  13. Margaret – You don’t need to defend your friends. We all know that there only two absolutes in our lives; death and taxes. Of course there are SOME journalist who are honest, have a functioning heart and are overall decent human beings. In my profession I deal a lot with lawyers and, believe it or not, SOME of them do have morals! LOL.

  14. One of the things that really struck me was this exchange:

    President Piñera symbolically received the “shift” from Luis Urzúa, the last miner to come up.

    The exchange as per State TV in Chile:

    Luis Urzúa: “I give you the shift, President, and I expect this won’t happen again… I’m proud of being Chilean.”

    President Piñera: “Señor Luis Urzúa, I receive the shift from you.”

    I imagine there will be a lot of focus now on mining safety and lawsuits etc..

  15. As many out there have, I, also, followed this miracle of 33 men who were rescued successfully. I am new to anything Chilean. I do have a feel that these 33 men are now exposed to attention. I like their pledge of silence. It just might get them through another day. Their battles are starting already, media, themselves perhaps, and the invisible thin veils that will bother them. –Steve Renko

  16. Qué buena columna de opinión Margaret. Que le debemos a estos hombres: Tranquilidad. Las gracias por permitirnos demostrar que cuando queremos hacer algo lo podemos realizar y dejar todas nuestras diferencias de lado.Que aunque somos un pequeño país podemos lograr grandes cosas. Que la gente que sale a trabajar día a día pudiese tener la tranquilidad que va a contar con todo el respaldo que se merece si algo malo sucede.Podemos enumerar muchas cosas más , podremos debatir de lo bueno y lo malo de lo ocurrido con los medios de comunicación (que cómo siempre hacen su trabajo rozando el límite con lo ético, pues el “rating” manda y debo tner más información que mi competencia) .Si el gobierno abusó o no de la imagén del presidente quien desde un principio se la jugó por que los mineros había que sacarlos. Al final podemos rescatar que estos 33 hombres , Chilenos comunes y corrientes , se vieron enfrentados a un hecho que les cambiará su vida para siempre y dependerá de nosotros , del resto de la sociedad poner los límites en cuanto a su vida privada.

  17. Gracias Nano- has dicho mucho de lo que he estado pensndo. Estas cosas nunca son simples y siempre tienen muchos matices… Y acabas de enumer varios. Gracias, como siempre, por tus valiosos aportes!
    Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

  18. @Steve- yes, this is an extraordinary group of men who have demonstrated what can be achieved when the entire crew is rowing in the same direction. I truly admire their resolve to face this together- a true one for all and all for one… They faced this first amazing challenge together, and now they’ve certainly got some rough times ahead that they’ll have to face alone. I imagine it would be valid to make analogies to soldiers returning from war and PTS, etc. I truly respect their resolve, consider them true Chilean heroes, and wish then all the best in the world.

  19. I have to admit that the first time I turned our TV on in over a month was to watch the miner’s rescue the other day. But, even in the middle of the euphoria, there were interviews with psychologists and other experts and I began to think that the tough times for these men won’t be over for a while. For some, the “fame” might bring them new opportunities but this will definitely add new stress to the families. I do hope that once the hype dies down that people can go back to living “normal” lives again.

    That said, I do think this was a great boost for Chile in terms of the teamwork and professionalism of the rescue. Also, it seems like perhaps the world may look at mining safety a bit more seriously.

  20. @Audrey- I’ve heard that these men have had and will continue to have psychological help, but I don’t know for how long. Time will tell. And yes, I believe that in the wake of 2 major disasters this year, the world has been forced to take a different and more serious look at Chile. Some have criticized “third world mining” but I really suspect that the situation is probably similar throughout the world. It IS time to make all mines everywhere safer and healthier.

  21. @Audrey – My family owned a successful manufacturing business in Chile. Consequently I was fortunate to have had the opportunity of spending a lot of my time with labourers and workers. Therefore, I see there is little concern that the miners’ new found fame will go to their heads. Miners in Chile, as in most other places, are rock-solid people (pun intended) who, thank goodness, have not had their minds infected by the superficial Hollywood mentality of instant fame and fortune. This why they are miners! Surely they will face emotional challenges and here again they have another advantage …their close, tight-knit family.

  22. OK Margaret. I was guilty of a gross generalisation, a thing I usually try to avoid. ‘Some’ journalists will do fine.

  23. @John: time will tell. I hope you are right. But I don’t think it’s a matter of it “going to their heads” as much as a case of them not being allowed to live a normal life.

    @Jack 😉

  24. @Margaret – I agree and I both hope and think they will be allowed to live a normal life. Remember, in order for anybody to have any meaningful contact with the miners, they must travel to northern Chile and spend time in the Atacama desert. Frankly, I believe most people, including journalists, would rather go elsewhere.

  25. Have you seen how many journalists are there from around the world already? And remember too that many of these guys are not from that region, but rather live there because that’s where they find work…
    Now here’s a thought… How many of them will return to work in a mine in the future?
    I bet some will…

  26. I know this is not a contest and I in no way want to give the impression that I am trivializing the miners’ ordeal, but … I bet you, a large number of them WILL go back to the mines and will live a “normal” live by their standards.

  27. You’re probably right… For many of them it’s what they know best… For others it may once again become a matter of economic necessity. Time will tell.

  28. Just found this interesting article on a psychologist’s view of what’s going on with the miners (in Spanish): http://bit.ly/aWNTpX

  29. Little ‘end-of-the-world’ Chile continues to receive worldwide praise and recognition for the miners’ rescue mission. This is what Kevin Neveu, CEO of Calgary-based Precision Drilling which was called in to help open an escape shaft had to say, “It was one of the best-organized jobs we’ve seen anywhere in the world, of any type of application,”
    “Notwithstanding where it was, they have set the benchmark for well-managed emergency operations.”

  30. The sooner the miners return to their normal lives, the better. The most important thing is that they´re alive, and the reinforcement of security standards, so other miners that don´t get tv cameras around them when they suffer accidents, don´t have to pass through something like this anymore.

  31. Such an interesting post. I loved watching the rescue and I love Laura’s take on it above–that the whole world was pulling for their safe return to the surface– and I guess there is a certain intrigue in knowing a little about some of the guys or what their living conditions were, but I have a hard time with some of the humanistic-type stories. I thought the story on the one guy’s baby that was born and named Esperanza was sweet, even the hair-do one (which I didn’t hear) that addresses some of the psychological aspects of the miners and their wives seems passable, but the story about the mistress and the wife (which apparently was exaggerated quite a bit??) was a little too much. The other night there was a brief story about one of the miners on 20/20 or nightline or something, in a speedo dancing around on the beach and there was just something… je ne sais quoi… un poco ridiculo about the story and I just couldn’t watch it. I can see why, for the miners, getting a little lime-light can be intoxicating, but I think there is something exploitative about encouraging it… I don’t know, I struggle with it–whether that kind of attention is beneficial in the long run. I hope they get back to some kind of “normal” soon.

  32. Hi Annje- yes, there’s that fine line between what we want to know and what they have to tell us about their lives, between what we have a “right” to know and what they have an “obligation” to tell us, between human interest and human subjectification.
    We’ll see how this all plays out. Farkas threw a party for them last night and each stepped forward to say a few words. One broke down completely when he tried to say that this was not something he looked for but that fell upon him as an accident… and I think that is the key. Some will handle the limelight well and some will not. Some will seek it out and reap its rewards and some will avoid it at all costs. Only time will tell.
    I just wish the very best for them and their families–and that out of this comes stricter safety standards and better conditions for all miners–and hopefully not only in Chile, but around the world!
    (Am I pontificating? Sorry if I am… I’m just hoping for the best while fearing the worst!)

  33. Hi Margaret – As usual, your point of view comes across as well balanced and fair. Personally, I no longer worry about not sounding like I am pontificating or not appearing like ‘this’ or like ‘that’. The internet has allowed us all to become both authors and critics, and boy, do we have an overpopulation of critics!
    Out of curiosity, I went online to read what the world had to say about the Chilean rescue effort. While I did not carry out any type of survey, I found an amazing number of readers who criticized the rescue. Their accusations ran the gamut of possibilities, from “Pinera’s corrupt government” to “why is this news”, and “this is the most farcical story ever published by this newspaper.
    Reminds me of the lyrics of a popular tune “So you can’t please everyone, so you gotta please yourself”. Sad but true.

  34. Hi John-
    Yes, I think it’s a very sad state of affairs when people can’t share the joy of a rescue of this magnitude.
    I’ve heard/read the same comments. Some of the commenters have no idea what they’re talking about, some have a point, and others are just plain weird. The “why is this news” question baffles me. Why WOULDN’T this be news?
    Now, if you want to talk circuses, we could discuss the whole Farkas parade… not THAT argument I could get behind!

  35. Have you seen the short “The Shock Doctrine”? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSF0e6oO_tw) I think part of what it describes happens here. The Government saw a tragedy, and acted accordingly to confront it, and successfully rescued the miners. That´s the good part.
    The other not so good part is the media coverage, that was somehow influenced by the Government, to show Minister Golborne, Minister Mañalich, and even stop the rescue progress a few hours to allow the President to show the now infamous “Estamos bien los 33” note.
    That media coverage, something normal according to the situation, because it was a really good story, was used to the fullest by Chilean Government to improve their poll ratings, AND taking away the cameras from the earthquake affected zones.
    Let´s just remember that the now super popular Goldborne, is the same guy who left the country, in the middle of the royalty law negotiation, to attend the Soccer World Cup, and was considered to be the first minister to be removed from the current administration.
    So it´s a mix of things, a good thing in a not so good box.

  36. @Marmo- I hadn’t seen that video before–it in itself is pretty shocking–some pretty strong stuff there–I’m going to have to think about that for a while before I decide what I really think. I mean, I think her message is clear and sound, her methods of showing it draw on the same tactics she’s criticizing (which I’m sure is her intent).
    And whether or not (or to what degree) that is applicable in Chile today is another thing open for debate… I think that in a world where we are bombarded so often my tragedies and horrific news, we all need some good news once in a while. Chile certainly needed some good news this year. It doesn’t undo the earthquake, but it does remind us that not everything ends badly.
    And when we see mine collapses, and Katrina floods, and major oil spills that countries like the US can’t handle, it makes us all feel good that our little ole’ Chile got the job done… and in a time when the country is concerned about national image and building its exports and increasing foreign investment and being treated as part of the 1st world crowd, I think the country has earned its right to toot its own horn a bit… and let’s face it, Piñera IS the president (like it or not) and it is his job to be the chief horn-blower right now.
    As always, there’s plenty to think about right now, and we will have to see how this all plays out in the weeks and months to come!
    Thanks, as always, for adding to the debate!

  37. Not living in Chile, I confess I know little about “funny hairdo” Mr. Farkas. I do know he gives a lot of his money away. Whether his giving is born out of his need to do “good” for the less priviliged, or to become better known than Michael Jackson, I do not know. Perhaps it’s both!

  38. John-Yes, Farkas DOES give away a lot of money and is seen as a philanthropist, but he is often criticized for doing it so very publicly. Always with him in the limelight. Always with him as the star of the show.
    The up side is that he has–on several occasions–embarrassed other wealthy Chileans into matching his donations (in the Teleton, for example), and that, in the end, is a good thing… but the way he goes about doing it tends to rub people the wrong way…

  39. Well, the earthquake subject and the video, have enough sustance to generate their own threads.
    Mr. Farkas is seen by some people like a hero, and by others as a clown. From my humble pov, rich people get attention anyway (whenever a Matte, Luksic or Paulmann does something, the press is right there to see it), and no one forces Mr Farkas to do what he does. If the man wants some attention, with his hair has more than enough!
    Also, I know a good story about Farkas and the earthquake, in which he helped a lot of people, and there was no camera around.
    Well Piñera is the President, we like it or not, as you say. but just watch this other video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPnukXbPKxo , even her wife is tired with the “papelito” (0:44, she says “no lo muestres”).
    And as always, is my pleasure to read Cachando Chile and my fellow commenters!

  40. Margaret – Given a choice between a ‘publicity starved’ figure and a “bigillionaire” who believes he’ll be able to take with wealth with him, I pick Farkas anytime. Maybe when he grows up and becomes a more evolved human being, he’ll learn that true giving and pomposity are not a good mix.

  41. Sorry, I meant to say … ‘publicity starved’ figure who gives a lot of his fortune away and a bigillionaire…

  42. @Marmo – Gracias por sharing este video. Lo encuentro muy muy interesante. Perdoname pero despues de vivir mas de 41 años fuera de Chile y casado con Irlandesa, me es mas facil a veces expresarme en ‘Spanglish’.
    Despues de mirarlo aparece claro que Naomi Klein tambien tiene su propia agenda, lo que de por si no tiene nada de malo. Tengo serias dudas de que Friedman o cualquiera de los otros protagonistas hayan tenido intenciones tan “Machiavelicas” como lo describe Klein. Creo que no estoy exagerando al decir que estos dias, todos nosotros usamos cualquier tipo de herramienta disponible para avanzar y engrandecer nuestra causa.
    Por lo tanto enfrentado a un video con ideologias tan extremas como este, honestamente me hace dudar. Despues de todo, es nada mas que mi opinion. Una vez mas, te agradezco por haberme dado la oportunidad de apreciar este video.
    Please forgive all my Spanish spelling mistakes.

    Saludos de Canada.

  43. Me parece fantástico tu spanglish; muchas veces no tengo la misma precisión en inglés o en español, y el otro idioma parece mejor para decir algunas cosas, y viceversa.
    Creo que son las ideas de Milton Friedman las que pueden ser utilizadas de una forma maquiavélica, no necesariamente que Friedman sea un “mastermind” tras el control del mundo o algo así. Recordemos que Nietzsche es citado algunas veces como fuente de inspiración para el nazismo, pero llegar a esa conclusión es exagerado; de la misma forma, creo que personas inescrupulosas podrían aprovecharse de tales principios, como los de Friedman, para impulsar sus propias agendas personales. Traje a colación este asunto por que he visto en canales de TV del sur de Chile (y nunca en los de Santiago) que muchos de los terrenos costeros luego del terremoto han sido expropiados, arguyendo motivos de seguridad, y quienes vivían en esos terrenos costeros han sido desplazados a los cerros. Sin embargo, en lugar de expropiar toda la costa de esos sectores turísticos, lo lógico era que el gobierno hubiera reforzado las medidas de protección de esos lugares públicos. Ahora, muchos de ellos sospechan que en realidad esos terrenos, que tienen un muy alto valor, aparecerán en manos de quien sabe quién en los próximos años.
    Lo mismo ha ocurrido con los mineros; por varias semanas la cobertura omnipresente de ellos en los medios permitió al gobierno zafar del problema con los mapuches, y también que ninguna cámara de TV mostrara la situación actual de los desplazados post terremoto acá en el sur.
    Estos circos se montan en cualquier lugar y momento, pero siempre tienen un propósito; desde subir algunos puntos en las encuestas, a desviar la atención de otros temas.
    Para no aburrir, me permito un recuerdo lejano, pero válido en este comentario. Durante el gobierno de Pinochet, no había semana en la que no hubieran avistamientos de ovnis, apariciones de la virgen, o casas con fantasmas en las noticias…
    Finally, I think the Chilean Government made the right choice in rescuing the miners, no matter the costs; the aftermath is what many of us find debatable.

  44. @Marmo – Ahora si que me siento ‘shy’ de responderte. Tu Castellano is “high grade’, como se dice … de alto octanaje? Me gustaria poder intercambiar ideas contigo. Me encanta dialogar con gente que usa la cabeza para otras cosas, fuera de peinarse y ponerse maquillaje.
    Si quieres me puedes escribir a … jccarr (at) sympatico (punto) ca
    Once again forgive my Spanish grammar.

  45. Hahaha, as long as you and Margaret forgive my low grade English! I think Cachando Chile is a good place to share some ideas, so we all “cachemos” a little more of some things that never appear in TV or newspapers.

  46. There is one person too many in your equation, when you say “as long as you and Margaret”. This is Margaret’s blog and I have little to do with her decision, 🙂

    By the way, I have no plans of stopping and sharing my thoughts here, unless Margaret has completely different plans, 😦
    What I meant to say was …should you wish to expand the exchanging of ideas beyond this blog, I’d be happy to participate, cachai?

  47. I think you 2 are doing just fine without me!
    I’ve been busy this afternoon to jump in and play (I mean opine), but was interested that you guys kept the ball rolling! And I don’t think either one of you has any language problems–in any of Cachando Chile’s 3 languages! (English, Spanish, and our favorite, Spanglish!)
    Proceed with all my blessings!

  48. Woops, the boss is back, 🙂 Hi Margaret.

  49. “paparazzi fodder” – so true! The press are like Vulchers and just like to make a drama out of a crisis. The only facts I wanted to know and was actually interested in from the Media Circus “was how quickly the miners were rescued and whether they were OK” Those poor people my heart went out to them as a mother and a wife. As for being trapped underground for all that time…words fail me. I think if a paparazzi had stuck a camera in my face after such an awful ordeal I would have punched them! I hasten to add I’m not normally violent! grrrrr

  50. Hi Piglet!
    I truly am interested in their stories, their lives, and what happens to them next… but I think there are different ways to accomplish that–chasing them down is not the right way. These normal, everyday guys have had their lives changed in incredible ways, and one of them, Mario Sepúlveda (the one who handed out souvenir rocks) actually said in an interview that he almost wished he were back inside! That he had formed close bonds with the others and had come to love them all and that things were really difficult now. Some are beginning to shwo signs of stress, of not dealing with it very well. They’ve become overnight rock stars, and they are understandably taking advantage of their moment of glory (human nature!), but it won’t last… so only time will tell how they deal with it over the long haul.

  51. Hi

    Last night, Edison Peña — one of the miners who was trapped underground for weeks in Chile — appeared on the “Late Show With David Letterman.” Peña’s performance added yet another layer to the miners’ pop-culture renown.

    I just had to send the link


  52. Thanks Laura! I had heard about it, but hadn’t seen it- it’s great!
    And did you catch the interpreter’s liberal translations! Loved it!

  53. Yes, the translator was funny. Even though my Spanish is not nearly as good as yours, I understand a lot. I could have “translated” as well lol

    He is quite a star here. He ran in the NY marathon. Even the usually snarky TMZ gossip love this guy and are really nice. The US showing its better side. All sorts of stories on Google news

    On a different note, I had never met a Chilean in the US and now I’ve met several. Apparently I just never looked. Or they are a bit prouder. I think there has been a real problem in the US with people assuming Spanish speaking are all mexican. Especially here in Colorado, there are many bilingual whose great grandparents were born here. So I hope some of that assumption is gone.

    Edison Pena has been quite the ambassador for Chile here

  54. Some misconceptions are hard to get rid of. Most of my friends know better by now but I still get the usual questions from those I have just met … Do you like tacos and enchiladas? Do they have chili in Chile?
    The best story I ever heard was when a good Chilean friend who had won a scholarship to live and attended high school in Michigan, was asked by some of her classmates … tell me Pat, do people down in Chile wear clothes similar to ours, and do they live in trees or houses? LOL

  55. Ignorance… but you can’t really blame everyday people… (well, maybe you can)… but we can so better about educating people. On our radio program “Cachando Chile on the Air” we did a Skype show between 2 Chilean teenagers and a classroom in Colorado (USA). The question that topped the day was “So, do you have giraffes in your back yard?”

  56. So, do they have giraffes in Chile? 🙂

  57. At least not in MY back yard!

  58. Oh my, what school in Colorado was that?

  59. It was Rock Canyon High School in Highlands Ranch, although to be fair and honest, the vast majority of the questions were eight on target!

  60. Highlands Ranch, Denver suburbs. Upper middle class. Good to know all the questions weren’t like that!

  61. Congratulations! I have reviewed “Cachando Chile” and I’m pleased to inform you that your blog has been added to Blogging Women.

    I’ve enjoyed reading through your blog post and look forward to future post.

    Welcome aboard and continued success with this blog

  62. Hi Fay- Thanks! Glad you’ve enjoyed it–there’s much more to come!!

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