The pattern of the days now is to set up an ambush and send a few men at a time out to scout. I was in the ambush under Pombo’s command in the afternoon. It is dull but you have to keep your wits about you all the same because you never know when soldiers may appear. Miguel was sent to find the Ñacahuasu and came back reporting it was a two hour hike away at least. While he was gone we heard gunshots and feared the worst. He said there was also a military camp along the river. We’ll need to avoid that.
After my turn on ambush I heard the radio news and it was bad. It seems that Debray will be executed. I am so sorry for that. I wish he had stayed with us now. It seems such a waste of a good man. And I know that if they catch any of us they will kill us so it is important that we stay hidden and stay alive.
Ten men at a time went on ambush every couple of hours. We are staying here because Raul still cannot walk properly. At least we had plenty to eat and when I wasn’t on ambush I read more of Guerrilla Warfare. The book explains lots of things to me, I wonder what it would be like to read it just as theory. I am lucky. I have the writer here to tell me first hand. And he is very consistent with his writing. Today he told us that he wants us to develop as ‘new men’. He says we need to possess great physical and moral courage, political development which allows us to keep to our revolutionary principles for our whole lives. He also says we have to develop the capacity for analysis, to be able to make decisions quickly and effectively. Most of all we need a sense of creativity, discipline and loyalty. He says we have to be the best so that we can teach those who are to come. He says man is very easily moulded and that capitalism has used this fact to bad ends. He says we have to eliminate the errors of the old society and become conscious of a new way. We have to realise a new way of being. And this involves a sense of love and compassion for our fellow men. We do not kill men if we can avoid it. We want to set men free – even the enemy soldiers. We can only do this by example, not by killing them. It’s the same things he says in the book – but I cannot explain how much more powerful they are when you hear them straight from his own mouth. I am lucky to be here. It is hard but I feel I am playing my part in the future of humanity and I am proud to be a man of Che’s.
Ambush again. A man from the local sawmill turned up in a jeep. We thought they were coming in advance of the soldiers, but he agreed he’d go to Gutierrez and leave his son behind as hostage – returning tomorrow. That way we would be safe (as long as he likes his son!) We asked him to buy some things for us and bring them back. I hope he does but I don’t trust him. I’ve learned not to trust any of them. He told us where there were soldiers and where they were not – again – can we trust his story?
We waited all day on ambush for the man to return with our goods and pick up his son. He is the same age as me, but he was very frightened. Eventually at night we left taking him with us. I told him not to be afraid, that we would take care of him and that he could be proud to be with us. We slept on the road.
We reached the Saladillo river at last and there were no soldiers in sight. Walking along it for four hours we came upon the Congri Creek. Our pace is slow. Not just Raul, but Ricardo and Moro are very slow and the boy we have brought is also reluctant to walk fast. We finally arrived at the camp we hadn’t seen since the first day of our trip.
We kept walking, without leaving tracks, and when we got to the water source upstream of the Saladillo we ate. Then more walking. We are again at high altitude but haven’t got to the top of the ridge yet. Che is puffing a bit. The boy who came with us says his grandfather’s house is nearby and wants us to go that way and drop him off. No decision has been made as to where we go tomorrow.
Passing the summit we made our way to the boy’s family farm. Before we got there we found his great uncle and some farmhands, who we took captive. They said that the boy’s father had made our purchases but then was arrested and told everything to the soldiers. They said there are about thirty soldiers in the nearby village patrolling. We waited till night to go to the farm. Before we went there we ate a pork, calabash and lard stew. Lard again. How I hate it. Especially with no water. We walked all night and go to the farm at daybreak.