Wives, mistresses anxiously wait for trapped Chilean miners

Posted Sep 3, 2010 by Igor I. Solar
A few of the miners that have remained trapped inside a copper and gold mine in northern Chile for almost a month may not be in a big rush to be rescued.
The relatives of the 33 miners trapped at the San José mine in Northern Chile will have to wait sev...
The relatives of the 33 miners trapped at the San José mine in Northern Chile will have to wait several months for their release.
Courtesy Diario Atacama
At least five wives have unexpectedly become aware of the existence of mistresses also waiting for the miners to be liberated from the bottom of the mine and hoping to qualify to receive compensation offered to the families of those facing a wait of three to four months until they can be rescued.
According with the Telegraph, one of the miners has four women fighting over him and their entitlement for benefits and reparation because of the ordeal. In order to avoid problems at the surface government officials are considering asking the 33 trapped miners to specify the name of who is entitled to claim the benefits.
Jhonny Barrios, 50, is one of the miners trapped about 700 meters underground at the San Jose mine that may not be overly concerned about the prospect that it may take as long as three to four months to complete the perforation that would bring him to the surface. There is a good reason for not having any urgency to be set free. Once he is out of the mine he will have to deal with the conflict that occurred when his wife and his mistress met at the camp where relatives are waiting for their loved ones to be rescued. The two women showed up at the site of the tragedy to see first-hand about the situation of Mr. Barrios.
Ms. Marta Salinas, 56, wife of the miner since 1991, was very surprised when she heard another woman desperately screaming her husband's name among a group of relatives of the miners. The woman identified herself as Susana Valenzuela and insisted on being allowed to remain at the scene of the accident waiting for her partner’s rescue. Ms. Salinas disallows her claims:
"Jhonny is my husband. I'm his wife and he loves me. This woman has no legitimacy” said the woman, who also confessed to being" horrified" by the unexpected news.
Ms. Valenzuela, on the other hand, is not prepared to give up and insist that she will continue waiting for the miner whom she met five years ago. "We are in love. I'll wait,” said Valenzuela, adding that Barrios told her that he planned to leave his wife.
Jhonny Barrios is the miner who has been in charge of nursing duties for his 32 peers. He has provided basic health care using the first-aid kit available at the refuge. His wife says that Jhonny learned first aid on his own “just by reading a lot”. Nursing knowledge has allowed Barrios to help his trapped mates and also assist the rescuers by taking and recording their blood pressure and filling up medical reports which are relayed to medical personnel at the surface of the mine. This function has been favourably assessed by the Minister of Health, Jaime Mañalich, who considers Barrios a great ally in the efforts to keep the miners in good condition while they wait for perhaps another two or three months to be rescued.
Johnny Barrios had confessed that, before contact was established with the miners for the first time on August 22, he felt like being in hell. So far, there are not reports about Barrios being aware of the drama at the surface and what he can expect following his rescue. Facing that, his current status, about 700 meters underground, may not seem as hellish.