Chile Mine Rescue a PR Coup for Chile - and President Pinera

Article excerpt

President Sebastian Pinera's government milked the Chile mine rescue as an opportunity to bolster the country's reputation as a safe place for investment.

The successful rescue of 33 miners from a half-mile underground may have cost the government millions of dollars more than expected. But with the media spotlight and the effort routinely beating expectations, it gave this country, and President Sebastian Pinera, the kind of publicity that money can't buy.

President Pinera took the risk of opening the Chile mine rescue to more than a thousand reporters, camera operators, and technicians from the world press, and ended up with his photo on the front pages of newspapers from Vienna to Tokyo.

He was there to personally greet and embrace each miner after they had been pulled one by one more than 2,000 vertical feet to safety after being stuck in the mine for more than two months. And he remained at the mine with his top officials until after midnight, awaiting the return of the six rescuers who had descended into the mine.

5 reasons the Chile mine rescue was so successful

The result is a public relations coup for Pinera, and for Chile, which last year became the first country in Latin America to join the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Following its admission into that group of developed countries, Chile had been hoping to bolster its reputation as an advanced Latin American country and a safe place for investment. And Pinera's government milked the marketing opportunity for all it was worth.

"The professional way they managed this, with state of art technology, is a plus for Chile and its presentation as a serious, well organized country," says Carlos Caicedo, head of Latin America analysis at the Exclusive Analysis firm in London. "Other mining countries will look to Chile as not only a place for exploration but also to supply expertise for accidents in the future."

Domestic benefits

Domestically, Pinera's government has benefitted from his handling of the trapped miners. …