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A minor surprise: Mistress greets miner

Johnny Barrios Rojas embraced his mistress Susana Valenzuela after being rescued. Rojas's wife was not at the mine to greet her husband. (Hugo Infante, Government of Chile/ AP Photo) Johnny Barrios Rojas embraced his mistress Susana Valenzuela after being rescued. Rojas's wife was not at the mine to greet her husband. (Hugo Infante, Government of Chile/ AP Photo)
By Anita Snow and Michael Warren
October 14, 2010

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SAN JOSE MINE, Chile—Johnny Barrios Rojas' rescue was among the most anticipated -- if only to see who would be there to greet him.

No. 21 of the men pulled from the collapsed mine, Barrios gained notoriety as the man who had two women at Camp Hope -- his wife of 28 years, Marta Salinas, and his mistress of four, Susana Valenzuela.

Salinas apparently knew nothing of the affair until the two women ran into each other amid the tents pitched by family members anxiously holding vigil -- and a very public spat ensued.

The 50-year-old Barrios looked around sheepishly Wednesday as he emerged from the rescue tube that elevated him to the Earth's surface, peering through dark glasses as mining officials in red shirts applauded loudly.

Behind him, smiling widely and waiting for him to notice her stood Valenzuela. When he didn't, the round-faced strawberry blonde walked around to face Barrios and gave him a long kiss and hug, weeping into the shoulder of his jumpsuit as he whispered into her ear.

Salinas was nowhere to be seen.

Weeks earlier, Barrios' wife had ripped down a poster of her husband put up by his mistress.

Defiant, the mistress taped the poster back up, and beneath several poems and prayers she had dedicated to him, she signed it, "Your Wife."

Dubbed "el enfermero" -- the nurse -- Barrios served as the miners' medic during the ordeal, dispensing medication sent in by health officials, passing out nicotine patches and photographing wounds.

He reportedly ended all his letters this way: "Get me out of this hole, dead or alive."

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