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News > Latin America

9 Out of the 33 Chilean Miners Sue Their Lawyers for Fraud

  • Rescuer Manuel Gonzalez gets into the Fenix capsule, starting the rescue operation of the 33 trapped miners in 2010.

    Rescuer Manuel Gonzalez gets into the Fenix capsule, starting the rescue operation of the 33 trapped miners in 2010. | Photo: AFP

Published 2 November 2015
Opinion

The 33 miners were forced to fend for themselves following their rescue and after international media coverage about the issue died down.

Nine out of the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped in an underground mine for over two months in 2010 filed a lawsuit against their lawyers Monday, accusing them of fraud and cheating them out of money.

According to the miners, their lawyers cheated them out of money, including royalties for the Hollywood movie, The 33, that was made about their plight being trapped some 700 meters (2,300 feet) underground for 69 days.

After the incident, several of the miners hired lawyers to handle their lawsuit for damages against the San Esteban Mining Company, which owned and operated the mines.

However, the company was acquitted and no charges were laid against them, according to a 2013 Euronews interview with one of the miners. No compensation ever reached the 33 victims.

The miner, Daniel Esteban Herrera, told Euronews that all the promises made by the authorities following their initial rescue “floated away in the breeze,” saying “justice has done nothing.”

The government initially promised the miners help with retraining and welfare. This included a pension and health care such as dental treatment because drinking water from the underground tanks while trapped ruined their teeth. However, the government has reportedly not adhered to these promises.

Some of the miners, as well as their families, also developed psychological issues after the trauma while many of the miners claimed they did not receive proper mental support.

According to media reports, the men had been hoping to see compensation from the film recently released about their struggle, however the recent lawsuit suggests that this has not been the case.

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