Rescue bid not a party, families of miners told
Published 07/09/2010 | 05:00
Family members living at the makeshift camp near the Chilean mine where 33 men are trapped have been admonished for having too much fun.
Laurence Golborne, the mining minister, said they should remember it was "not a fiesta or a holiday camp".
"It's the site of a massive rescue operation and we would do well to remember that."
The reprimand came as families clashed over celebrating the 200th anniversary of Chilean independence, which falls on September 18.
A general meeting was called on Sunday in the canteen tent at Camp Esperanza -- Camp Hope -- to discuss plans for a party to mark the bicentenary.
Families decided to draw up a list of guests they would like to invite to a celebration at the camp, where access is currently limited to close relatives.
But some felt it was not appropriate. "I thought we agreed not to do such a thing," said the wife of Mario Gomez Heredia, the oldest of the 33 miners trapped 2,300ft below the Atacama Desert. "Let's save the party for when the men are with us."
The trapped miners themselves had hoped to mark Independence Day with a glass of Chilean red wine. But the medical team responsible for maintaining their well-being ruled out sending down any alcohol.
"Until we have got them out of there they will have to do without alcohol, that is the advice of the medical professionals," said Mr Golborne (49), whose regular visits to the mine have lifted him from political obscurity to one of the most popular members of government. (© Daily Telegraph, London)