My dear friend Kartar Bhalla, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Nauru in India and invaluable member of the World Federation of Consuls (FICAC), always has a way with words. Chile thanks you, Honorable Consul Bhalla, and all of our friends around the world.
Honourable friend Paulina,
Words fail me to express my joy and extend my congratulations to you and the people of Chile on the most unprecedented rescue of 33 Chilean miners after 69 days.
Church bells must have tolled, sirens must have blared and millions in the world must have had smiles on their faces as miner Florencio Avalos resurfaced after 69 days of living underground, winched up in a rescue capsule, and like clockwork, all the remaining miners – 32 – followed. TV and Internet audiences across the globe must have remained glued, witnessing a human drama that surpassed anything the world had known in the recent past. What had the potential to turn into a tragic story became a moment of pride for Chile.
A cave-in on August 5 had left the miners trapped in a small copper-and-gold mine. The tremendous effort of the Chilean government, led by President Sebastian Pinera and Mining Minister Laurence Golborne, has been fruitful, first in locating the miners and then in coordinating an international rescue effort, which led to recovering them from the jaws of death. Contact with the outside world, established 17 days after the cave-in, too had a vital role to play in boosting their morale as well as providing them with material and emotional support.
This would be remembered as an unforgettebale triumph of human spirit seen in the dramatic Chilean rescue effort.
Heartiest congratulations, Chile.