Wednesday, October 13, 2010
The Big Lift
That is right, folks. As I type this, the 33 trapped mines in the north of Chile are being pulled from the depths of the Earth. In fact, roughly half of them have been brought up as I type this. That's pretty good I would have to say, and be all accounts there has been little if any in the way of problems. And, all that being, said, I couldn't be more impressed with the Chileans.
I am not talking about the miners themselves, although I could and should be. Because I am super impressed with the 32 Chileans and 1 Bolivian who have been stuck UNDERGROUND for 69 days. That is beneath the surface of the Earth, people. I can tell you that I probably wouldn't have had the health, mind, or resolve to last that long under those conditions. So I am completely impressed by what they have done and are currently doing. But I am also amazed by how the Chilean authorities have handled this situation. See, since about, oh, 16 minutes after the mine shaft collapsed, the private company that owned the mine has been bankrupt and Codelco, the state-owned mining company, has been in charge, which essentially means that the Chilean government has been running the show.
And they have done a stupendous job of it. First thing the did was pure, unadulterated genius: they consistently gave the worst-case time estimates: oh it might take months, it might take another eleventy billion weeks, so on and so forth, and then they consistently have come in ahead of schedule. Aside from making them look super great, this also keeps the guys in the shaft, and their loved ones on the surface, and the millions watching on TV, in good spirits. And keeping that mental part upbeat is one of the most important things of all.
Not that the folks in charge hadn't thought about that. They have meticulously calculated and planned the entire operation from day one, and have not spared an expense, which is no small feat for a country still reeling from a devastating earthquake in February. They have brought in the best equipment and minds to make sure that the men get exactly what they need, and a little bit extra to keep them upbeat. So very good. They are making them spend 48 hours in a friendly local hospital - two floor of which have been reserved exclusively for them - just to make sure that they are in good shape. They have all manner of psychologists and sociologists and other -ologists waiting to help the re-adjust to daily life. They are wearing sweaters on their way up because although it is 90º down there, it is around freezing in the real world at night. They have to wear sunglasses to shield themselves from the light. The guys are monitored on the way up with cameras to see if they are becoming panicked or anything. Just about everything has been accounted for.
And so it is rapidly becoming a shining day for the nation of Chile, triumphantly bringing its men back from the brink of death. It is a great and resounding success. And it should be applauded and celebrated as such. Oftentimes things like this are spun for political reasons into great events to show how great the government is. But not this time. There is no spin here. This is a great event showing how great the government is because the government has succeeded fantastically. Congratulations miners, we are glad you are out safe. And congratulations Chile, you deserve every accolade you get.