Last week, miners in a Chilean mine escaped death as they were pulled to safety and into the arms of their loved ones. Unfortunately for one man’s wife, she wasn’t the only loved one.
The miner in question is named Yonni Barios. He was regarded as the group’s doctor, as he had some medical knowledge because he needed to help his mother out in her battle with diabetes.
Barios looked after his fellow miners. His actions were regarded as noble. And when he emerged from the mines, he was greeted by the kisses of Susan Valenzuela. The only problem with this joyful, tear filled reunion was the fact that Susan was not Yonni’s wife. His wife, Marta, was waiting for him in the camp.
Marta was not aware of Valenzuela until just before Yonni emerged from the mines. Thus it was Valenzuela, his lover, who greeted him. Marta was indignant, not even allowing her children to see their stepfather.
It’s disgusting that in the middle of this situation of life, hope and rescue, there is a scummy, ignoble action going on. To have this man, a symbol of leadership and healing amongst his fellow miners while they were trapped, be revealed to have a mistress on the side of his marriage is outrageous. The fact that he appears to have no problem with it is even worse.
Instead of feeling guilty about breaking a supposedly lifelong commitment that he made to his wife and dealing with it the way he properly should have (by dumping this mistress and earning back the trust of his wife, something that could take years), he chose poorly. He acted the fool and chose lust over love.
And all around him are these people cheering as miner after miner were rescued from the mines. You would think he would have more dignity and at least keep his affair private, but instead he broadcasts it to the entire world.
It just goes to show, you can take almost any excellent movement or hopeful symbol and find cracks and flaws in it. Yonni Barios isn’t the first to defile a noble event, and he won’t be the last. But I would hope that because of him, we gain a little more respect for these inspiring kind of events, such as the rescue of the miners in Chile, and try to act a little less scummy and a little more nobly.
Ian Everett is a creative writing freshman and may be reached at email@example.com.