Bolivian President Evo Morales met with compatriot Carlos Mamani on Wednesday at the mine from which the worker had been rescued hours earlier.
Mr Mamani, 23, was the only non-Chilean among 33 miners trapped 700 metres underground at the San Jose copper mine in northern Chile since August 5.
“This is a historic event. We Bolivian authorities are grateful for the effort that Chileans made,” Mr Morales said. Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, Health Minister Jaime Manalich and Mamani’s family were present at the meeting.
Mr Morales offered Mr Mamani a job and a home in Bolivia in case he wants to return to his native country, and said he was willing to take the miner home immediately if he wished to go.
Mr Manalich himself stressed that Mr Mamani was very fit despite the hardships below ground and that doctors would not object if he wished to go back to Bolivia immediately.
Mr Mamani, however, made it clear that he wants to stay in Chile, at least for a few days. He plans to meet up with the other 32 miners on the surface, once the ordeal is over for all of them. Mr Morales was late for Mamani’s rescue, which prompted criticism from the miner’s wife, but he did get to see first hand the arrival on the surface of Chilean miner Jorge Galleguillos.