Miners secrecy pact erodes

Cracks are emerging in the Chilean
miners’ pact to stay mum about their underground horror, with at least one
miner admitting he’ll tell his story for money and another saying he wants to
dispel rumours about cannibalism and male sex.

Half a mile underground, the 33 men
made a pact in their early days of captivity, promising never to disclose
details of how they endured 17 days, desperate and starving, with no word from
the outside world. They also signed a pledge to evenly split all proceeds from
the media attention. But back then, the hardscrabble, working-class men and
their families couldn’t imagine the fame and fortune now awaiting them in
exchange for telling their stories.

Some miners have admitted to
breaking the pact for financial gain. “I have to think about myself,”
rescued miner Jorge Galleguillos said, explaining why he would tell his story
only for a fee. He said he believed the miners’ agreement was voluntary and
non-binding.

Others, like Mario Sepulveda —
dubbed “Super Mario” for his humour and energy — said he broke the
pact to dispel false rumours about how the men behaved while trapped for 69
days half a mile underground.

“We were swallowed into the
bowels of hell, but we have been reborn, and now I feel it is my duty to tell
what went on and the lessons to be learned,” he said.

Asked about rumours that the miners
had some “Brokeback Mountain” moments underground, the 40-year-old
heavy equipment operator said, “Nothing like that ever went on. We were
too busy trying to survive to think of sex.

“We didn’t really even talk
about sex. We spoke of our wives and we made some jokes, but we never talked
about sex seriously because that would have been too painful,” Sepulveda said
in an exclusive interview with London’s Daily Mail.

Asked about reports that the miners
discussed cannibalism, even jokingly, Sepulveda responded, “Do you think
about things like that? I didn’t. Maybe some men did. Maybe I would have
thought about that if things had got worse.