Lover greets miner, wife stays away
Published 14/10/2010 | 05:00
Miner Yonni Barrios Rojas emerged from his underground ordeal to overground turmoil last night as he was greeted by his mistress, Susana Valenzuela.
His wife, Marta Salinas, only became aware of the existence of the 'other woman' while her husband was trapped underground.
Marta Salinas (56) found that her husband of 28 years had had a mistress for five of them. And that mistress had set up a vigil in Camp Esperanza.
The first meeting between the women was not a cordial one. A public spat followed.
The framed photograph that Mrs Salinas' rival kept on a hillside shrine was smashed and, to make matters worse, the first letter Mr Barrios Rojas sent up from below was to Miss Valenzuela, not to his wife.
But the 50-year-old miner, nicknamed Dr House after using his first-aid training to treat medical problems among the men, hoped that his homecoming might reunite them.
In his letter of request as to who should greet him when he was pulled from the mine, he asked that both his wife and his mistress be present.
His sister, Lidia Barrios Rojas, said yesterday: "He asked them both to go up to the mine to meet him when he came out.
"He says quite simply that he loves them both, that they are both important to him and he wants them to be friends with each other."
Perhaps understandably his wife refused to meet him if the "other woman" was going to be there.
Mrs Salinas, who has no children with her husband, said: "I am happy because he made it, it's a miracle of God. But I'm not going to see the rescue. He asked me to but it turns out that he has also asked the other lady, and I am a decent woman. Things are clear: it's her or me.
"I won't even watch it on TV. Besides, in phone conversation and in the letters he sent me it's clear that he is fine, and that's enough for me."
Miss Valenzuela (45) claimed that he had been planning to leave his wife and marry her when the rockfall happened.
Mr Barrios Rojas' sister said about his wife: "Marta is angry. She feels humiliated and she has said she is not going to see him. He has written in his letters that he really wants them to be friends and for this to be a happy ending where he gets to keep them both," she said.
"His wife just wouldn't accept it -- so in the end, it's Susana's arms he will run into."
She said the squabbles had cast a shadow over the miraculous rescue, adding: "It's been a horrible situation for all the family with them fighting over him like that." (© Daily Telegraph, London)