Miners are emerging, one by one, from the Fenix 2, the capsule painted in the national colors of Chile, attached to a cable and wound around a flywheel, and controlled initially by a man named Chipo, who controls a lever that pulls them from more than a mile below the Atacama Desert in Chile.
A man speaks to Chipo on the surface, and to Don Luis, or Don Lucho, in the mine. The man coordinates the rise and fall of the capsule, connected by a cable to the surface.
There were 33 men trapped below.
The flywheel squeaks, and there is a distant banging when the capsule descends. The alarm from a nearby White Toyota goes off. There is a hum and a whine. The video stream is raw and audio engineers shift their audio feed from one mic to another. Steam, or maybe smoke, appears to rise into the cold night from the amazingly narrow cavity.
A few feet away, a woman waits near a gurney, preens her short, dark hair and then adjusts her white hard hat. She is the wife of Juan Illanes, age 52. He is the third man to rise.
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Pinochet could have received $292 million dollars in loans from Chilean government, unclear if paid or repaid.
An investigation by the newly founded Chilean investigative journalism and government transparency organization ArchivosChile has discovered documents showing that ret. Gen. Augusto Pinochet was authorized to receive loans of $292 million from the Chilean state from 1977 to 1981. Published on the ArchivosChile website and the Chilean newspaper La Nacion, the article lends credence to suspicions raised years ago upon the discovery of secret U.S. bank accounts that Gen. Pinochet benefited financially from his position as dictator of Chile from 1973 to 1989.
John Dinges, an American journalist and author of two investigative books on Chile, is leading the initiative to explore Law 20.285, known as the Public Information Access Law or Transparency Law, which is similar to the Freedom of Information Act in the United States. ArchivosChile is based upon the model set by the National Security Archives, which uses FOIA laws extensively to obtain and archive historical documents produced by the US Government.
Dinges is the father of the author of this blog.
With these documents, he is seeking to find documents indicating whether money was loaned to Pinochet, and if any of this money was returned to the Chilean state. He is requesting documents from Chile’s Central Bank.
“We are trying to force them to give us that information,” said Dinges in a phone interview. “There is supposed to be an accounting for how that money is spent, and that is what we are going after.”