[WHAT? Like seriously?? Does this not make you perk up a little and wonder exactly what was going on with that Chilean mine fiasco? If you haven’t read the post “The Odd Masonic Imagery of the 33 Chilean Miners’ Rescue“, please do before you continue. T]
October 17, 2010
By Damien McElroy Foreign Affairs Correspondent
The Chilean president, Sebastian Piñera, will present rocks from the San Jose mine to David Cameron and the Queen on Monday as he embarks on his European “victory tour” in an attempt to capitalise on the success of the miners’ rescue mission.
Mr Piñera hopes to use the international admiration gained by the rescue of the 33 miners in a clockwork [orange] operation to forge trade links with Britain, France and Germany.
The triumphalist tone of the long-planned visit was set with a visit to the Cabinet war rooms in Whitehall. Mr Piñera kept a copy of Mr Churchill’s 1940 “blood, toil, tears and sweat” speech to the House of Commons by his side during the miners disaster.
Mr Piñera, 61, a billionaire businessman and former media mogul, has brought “many” gifts for the European leaders he meets on a three country tour, including The Queen and David Cameron. Rocks from the mine and a copy of the note attached to the first drill to reach the men after they had been trapped for 17 days that declared all 33 men had survived the collapse on Aug 5 have been brought by the president.
President Piñera has vowed to demonstrate long-term benefits of his leadership during the crisis by attracting foreign investment in new industry.
“England is a key ally in Europe and we hope to strengthen our ties,” he said. “With David Cameron we share the same values, the same views.
“I am bringing him a piece of rock from the mine and I hope he will keep it in Downing Street in tribute to courage, faith, hope.”
Mr Piñera, who sat at the bunker cabinet table and posed with a Cuban cigar, spoke in Churchillian terms about the operation to rescue the miners.
He said. “We did it because we were united, we did it because we were convinced, and did it because we would never leave anyone behind.”
But it is the boardrooms not the battlefields that is the focus of Mr Piñera’s tour, which will see him travel to France on Tuesday and Germany on Thursday.
On Monday, he will meet both the Queen and Mr Cameron, who telephoned him to congratulate him on the rescue mission last week. Mr Piñera was filmed speaking to the British Prime Minister in English and saying: “Thank you for your kind words David. Maybe I see you next week.”
By marshaling advanced engineering technology from around the world and devoting all available government resources to the rescue quickly, Mr Piñera ensured that the men emerged much more quickly than the post-Christmas time frame predicted.
While the European tour was cast in doubt by the rescue operation its rapid conclusion last week provided the ideal platform for Mr Piñera to travel north this week. Some in Chile suggested that he had put pressure on the rescuers to advance the operation more quickly to enable its completion while he was still in the country.
By staging such a well-planned and well-televised rescue, President Piñera has transformed his domestic image and granted Chile a generational opportunity to throw off the lingering damage of decades of dictatorship.
Aides to the Chilean president said his international task since the operation to use the goodwill generated for “Brand Chile” by the rescue operation.
“The president will speak of the Chilean way of doing things which means that it is a country where everything really works,” a Chilean official in London said.
“Everyone related to Chile thinks that the rescue of the miners shows that we can do things properly and we hope that business and investment will recognise that.” The conference will concentrate on infrastructure and renewable energy opportunities in a country that is 2,700 miles long and averages just 109 miles wide.
Within the country, Mr Piñera has promised tighter regulations and better conditions in the mining industry. The rescue operation and his subsequent pledges have transformed his image as the first elected Right-wing leader since the country was divided on ideological grounds by the 17-year military dictatorship of Gen Augusto Pinochet.
A poll published in La Tercera newspaper yesterday said that 84 per cent of Chileans approved of President Piñera’s handling of the mine crisis. Mr Piñera’s popularity ratings went from 46 per cent before the accident to 57 per cent afterwards.
Did you like what you read here? If so, please be kind enough to donate to support the cause (click HERE). It takes time and money to create a website like this and I love doing it so anything would be very much appreciated. And I’ll personally email you a free thank-you gift in return – my 214 page ebook about debt, credit, bankruptcy, investing and much more!