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Mistresses, wives of trapped Chilean miners clash over cash

Last updated: 03 September, 2010
London, Sep 3 (IANS) 13:30 IST

Mistresses and wives of 33 miners trapped inside a mine in Chile have clashed over compensation claims and some of the miners may face difficult questions when they make it to the surface.

The miners have been trapped since Aug 5 when a tunnel collapsed at the mine, located about 700 km north of Chilean capital Santiago.

Now there is a rush of women who are claiming to be first in the Chilean miners' affections so that they get government handouts.

Daily Telegraph reported that at least five wives came face to face with mistresses.
In one of the worst cases, a miner has four women fighting over him.
Marta Flores, a Red Cross worker, said: "There has been a lot of conflict between women."

"We had a big bust up in the canteen tent when a wife came across a woman who claimed to be her husband's lover - we had to step in and pull them apart before things got physical."

Flores added: "Unfortunately the conflict stems from money issues...Some of the men have children from numerous women and all of them have arrived here to stake their claim. I've met five families in this situation but I'm sure there are more."
The mine accident has opened up a can of worms with some women arriving at the camp only to find that their partners already had a wife and children about whom they were not aware.

Special officers trained in marital issues are providing assistance to women faced with their husband's infidelity.

The media report said that a miner has a first wife whom he never divorced, a live-in partner who is a mother of a child he had several years ago as well as a woman who claims to be his current girlfriend. They are all at the camp.

"It's a logistical nightmare trying to keep them apart and of course they all want to send messages," Flores was quoted as saying.

Yonni Barrios Rojas, a trapped miner, may face challenging questions when he comes out. His wife, Marta Salinas, has found out that he had a mistress. The mistress, Susana Valenzuela, said they met on a training course five years ago and he planned to leave his wife for her.

"He is my husband. He loves me and I am his devoted wife...This other woman has no legitimacy," said Salinas.

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