The first three rescued Chilean miners out of the hospital celebrated their new lives as national heroes on Friday, as word emerged that the 33 want to closely guard their story so they can fairly divide the spoils of their media stardom.
That could explain why none of them have spoken publicly at any length or provided any dramatic details of their 69 days trapped half a mile beneath the Atacama desert.
A daughter of Omar Reygadas, a 56-year-old electrician, said he told her just hours earlier that the miners have agreed to divide all their earnings from interviews, media appearances, movies or books. "He also said we can't say things to the media without their permission," said Ximena Alejandra Reygadas, 37.
"He said they need to decide what we can tell the media."
A shift foreman at the San Jose mine said they have hired an accountant to track their income from public appearances and equitably distribute it.
"More than anything, I think the idea is to charge for the rights to everything that's been shown about their personal life, of their odyssey. That way, they're safe," said Pablo Ramirez. Ramirez, 29, had lowered himself deep into the mine's bowels right after its August 5 collapse in a failed attempt to reach his comrades. "They're going to be very close to the chest and will speak together as a group," he said, while drinking rum and cola in a Copiapo restaurant.
Ramirez is out of a job with the roughly 360 other San Jose miners now that the government has decided to close the mine as unsafe. And while he said he's got good job prospects as an experienced miner, his friends were probably the most in-demand people on the planet.
A Greek mining company wants to bring them to the sunny Aegean islands. Football teams in Madrid, Manchester and Buenos Aires want them in their stadiums. Bolivia's president wants them at his palace. TV host Don Francisco wants them all on his popular "Sabado Gigante" show in Miami.
Separately, a tunnel collapsed in a gold mine in southern Ecuador on Friday, trapping four miners 490 feet (150 meters) underground. Authorities said rescue efforts were under way.
A miner who survived the cave-in told authorities that four of his colleagues remain trapped in the mine, located near the city of Portovelo, about 250 miles south-west of the capital, Quito. The mine is operated by the Ecuadorean company Minesadco.