Thursday, October 14, 2010
The Lessons Of Chile's Miracle Rescue Operation
HT Drew M.
The leadership of Chile President Sebastian Pinera, believing fiercely in globalization and free markets, and not believing in limits, seemed to make a critical difference.
Pinera refused to shut out foreign expertise. As the world focused on Chile's miners underground, the rescue operation above was characterized by an Apollo 13-like sense of mission. Failure was not an option...
Pinera also grasped the importance of just being on hand and transparent. The Chileans communicated clearly with both the miners and the outside world about what was happening. One of the first three holes drilled by rescuers was for communication.
Pinera spent a lot of time at the remote desert site. He was there when the incredible discovery of life was made, and he assured the miners the long wait for their rescue was strictly geological and logistical — not bureaucratic. He gave everyone hope by being engaged and involved.
By sad contrast, Obama stayed far away from the Gulf during the BP spill, as if to deny it, and made only a few brief appearances later.
Sadder still is what happens in China, where miners are routinely left for dead after mines collapse — a big reason more than 2,000 parish in such accidents each year.
"Lucky people who were born in Chile. ... If it was us, we would definitely have been buried alive and died," a Chinese wrote on the Internet, as quoted by the Christian Science Monitor.
Pinera is different. He focused on avoiding conflict and laying blame while the rescue was still on. He took accountability himself by firing incompetent inspectors on his own side, but didn't condemn business or shut down an entire industry, as Obama did with his Gulf moratorium, only now being lifted.
Pinera worked with local officials instead of bickering with them or throwing up bureaucratic obstacles because they belonged to the wrong party. Sadly, that's what Obama did with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who had to take matters into his own hands in building berms when Louisiana's coast was threatened by the April spill.