Chilean miners get payout


The 33 in the spotlight.


Mark Ralston

Everybody’s favorite miners got a boost this week. 

A year after the miners were pulled from the ground, Chile announced that it would grant lifetime pensions to all of the miners who are at least 50 years old, or suffer from health problems that keep them from working, according to the AP.

Also, it appears that the miners are still sticking together. The list of pension recipients was drawn up by consensus:

The miners themselves helped decide who among themselves who should qualify for the pensions.

While grateful for the government support, they also stressed that they won’t stop pressing their suit against Chile’s mine safety agency — or drop their lawsuit against the owner of the mine where they were trapped.

Life hasn’t been easy for the 33 miners, who were rescued alive after being trapped underground for nearly three months. 

Many remain unemployed or do odd jobs to make ends meet. A few have tried to capitalize on their notoriety by taking public-speaking gigs. But their 15 minutes of fame is already dwindling.

The world that was once riveted by their harrowing ordeal, and riveted by every detail, such as their demands for wine, cigarrettes and empanadas and penchant for careening around in mining carts while they waited to be rescued.  

As one miner, Jorge Galleguillos, told CNN:

"They love us more abroad. They congratulate us, they want to touch us and get a blessing from us. That's not the case in Chile. Only a few greet us with affection; many more say 'hi' with envy.”