Cardwell: The Multiple Lenses of History
Stillidealistic: Much Ado About Nothing
As Chileans celebrated the sensational rescue of 33 trapped miners, other nations have looked on with envy at Chile's display of patriotic unity and national goodwill.
In several Latin American countries, unpopular leaders reportedly plan to divert their restive citizens by staging even more spectacular rescue operations. According to a government insider, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina has arranged to trap 60 miners for for 87 days in another Andes copper mine and then rescue them. Not to be outdone, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil reportedly plans to trap 75 miners for 94 days in an iron mine and then personally accompany them to the service in a specially designed presidential capsule nicknamed the Lula-Pod.
Meanwhile, President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has announced plans to stage the largest mine rescue in history, with 450 miners buried at 5,000 feet for a full year. But his grand plans may be overshadowed by China, which has begun a major digging operation near Xi'an. Analysts have theorized that the government is planning to rescue a live simulation of the Terracotta Army, a massive ceramic sculpture collection of 8,000 soldiers and horses buried near the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor in 2010 B.C.
Other nations have sought out more creative mine rescues to tug their citizens' heartstrings. Uruguay will reportedly bury 25 Miss Universe pageant contenders along with soccer star Diego Forlan. Germany may bury three 6-year-old triplets in blond pigtails and a litter of dachshund puppies. The U.K. has already privatized its mine rescue administration, granting a license to a new reality show called "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of this Mine."
In the U.S., mine rescue has taken on political overtones. President Obama proposed to rescue 50 miners, one from each state, as part of an economic stimulus package. But Republican leader John Boehner criticized the plan as "a socialist handout to the mining unions." Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin told Fox News, "Every day, I hear people from all over this great nation tell me how all they want is to save someone trapped in a mine, and if the government would just get out of their way, they could save them with some good old American can-do." On a separate program, Fox News host Glenn Beck warned his audience, "We've seen this before, folks. First they save the miners, then they murder the Jews." Republicans meanwhile introduced their own Pledge to American Miners, in which they promised not to raise taxes on those earning over $250,000 per year.
In the meantime, Chile continues to bask in the glory of international attention. President Sebastián Piñera declared, "With this miraculous rescue, Chile has showed the world that we may not be the first in mine safety, but we're the first in mine rescue."