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One man, a mine, his wife and his lover

After his wife met his mistress at a vigil, Yonni Barrios might have been the only man who actually had a good reason to want to stay down the mine.

Yonni Barrios greets his lover.
Yonni Barrios greets his lover.
Image: GABRIEL ORTEGA/GOVERNMENT OF CHILE

EVERY GREAT STORY needs a love triangle.

And the story of the rescue of 33 men from a mine in Chile after 70 days underground is no exception.

Underground, Yonni Barrios was celebrated as the group’s doctor. But above the surface, he was famous for something slightly less worthy.

Before the mine’s collapse, Yonni Barrios had been happily living a double-life, successfully dividing his time between the wife he has been married to for 28 years, and his mistress Susana Valenzuela.

Everything was going fine until he got trapped underground – and the two women met at a vigil by the entrance to the San Jose mine. According to the Daily Mail, the two women had to be “pulled apart” when they met.

And as the day of the rescue finally approached, Barrios reportedly asked for both of them to wait for him as he emerged.

But wife Marta Salinas stayed away, leaving his lover Susana Valenzuela to greet him instead.

I watched it on television. I’m very pleased they are all coming out well. I’m glad I didn’t go to the mine, it was the correct decision. It would have been wrong if the two of us were there – I have children and grandchildren. That kind of situation wouldn’t have been good for my family, and my sons come first. He is crazy and cocky to think I would do such a thing. I have a sense of decency.

She added that if he wanted to see her, he knew where to find her. Otherwise, her lawyers will be in touch.

According to the Mail, Barrios is not the only one whose complicated domestic arrangements have been exposed during his time underground. The newspaper claims another miner has a wife, a child, and a seven-months pregnant girlfriend; while another has no fewer than four women vying for his affections. His popularity is nothing to do with his possibly soon-to-be-increased income, we assume.

About the author:

Jennifer O'Connell

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