Chilean Miners Sue Country for Millions in Damages

The Chilean miners, known as "La Treinta y Tre" or "The 33" in their home country, have filed a lawsuit against the government, seeking more than half a million dollars per person in damages.

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La 33, which refers to the number of men who were trapped underground for 60 days after the mine he was working in collapsed on August 5th, 2010, insist that the suit is not about money and rather about forcing the Chilean government to put in fail safes to keep another major mining tragedy from happening.

"This lawsuit is only to set a precedent so this won't happen again," said miner Omar Reygadas. "It's so that conditions improve."

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The miners are seeking damages of about 

The miners are demanding $541,000 each, but many claimed they didn't know the extent of the amount until informed by local media. n an interview with CNN Chile, Reygadas, said that he was he though their attorney was filing a lawsuit against the owner of the mine and not the government. Regardless, Reygadas insists the suit is not meant to be an affront to Chilean President Sebastian Pinera's government, which orchestrated the rescue estimated at $20 million dollars, but rather a way to hold the state accountable for allowing such deplorable working conditions to exist.

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Though money is not the primary goal for the miners, Reygadas does not deny that it would be helpful to most involved. "There's a myth that us miners have a lot of money, but that is not the truth," he said.

"For us to have become millionaires, we would have had to find a jackpot of gold inside the mine and brought it up with us," he said.