Chilean Miner Wants Iconic ‘We Are Okay’ Note Back

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A member of Chilean President Sebastian Pinera's delegation holds a copy of the note sent from miners trapped in the San Jose mine for photographers in Downing Street on October 18, 2010 in London, England.

A Chilean miner’s note that reads, “We are okay, the 33 of us,” has made history, but he now wants it back.

José Ojeda was seventh to be rescued from the underground chamber where 33 miners were trapped for 65 days, the longest ordeal ever suffered by a group of miners trapped underground.

His note, which served as an unequivocal sign to the world that the miners were alive, has traveled all around Europe in hands of Chilean President Sebastián Piñera and has been seen by a number of heads of state.

(PHOTOS: Inside the mine)

Now President Piñera refuses to let the note go and wants to display it at a museum, to be part of a collection of everything to do with the rescue.

But Ojeda says it’s time to get it back. “I think it’s fine for [President Piñera] to keep it for a few months, but he can’t just take something that I wrote,” Ojeda told a regional newspaper.

Ojeda sent a letter to the presidential palace six months ago but says he hasn’t heard back since. So he’s decided to get the other Chilean miners together to speak as a group.

Government spokeswoman Ena von Baer said the final decision would be taken after holding discussions with the miners and their families.

(PHOTOS: Runners up for TIME’s Person of the Year: Chilean miners)

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