Things go from bad to worse. The radio reports that they have Che Guevara cornered in a jungle ravine. The worst thing is I believe it is true. I don’t know how we will get out of here. I thought about burning all my diaries today, but then I realised that if they go and I die, no one will ever know anything about me and my life. I want to live. But maybe I will only live through these words. I don’t want the words that people read to be I am scared. But I am. So I better not die or that’s all they will know of me at the end. I have to be brave. I have to prove that I am a man of Che’s, that our cause is just and that if we die it is as part of a revolution we believe in. I wish the people of Bolivia would get behind us but they have been tricked and lied to by their own people and do not have the courage to support us.
We cannot sit here waiting to die. Che says we are to head for the Rio Grande and then we can make a crossing and get free. I wish I had his courage. If he is afraid I have never seen it.
There are still soldiers all around but we managed to make some progress towards the Rio Grande. We are still alive is all I can really say. There’s not much to eat and fear is all around but we are still living. We had the first food in four days but that gave us diarrhea. The water was foul.
Today we didn’t even see any soldiers and we moved on towards the Rio Grande. But we got lost. First Nato got lost and then we got lost trying to find him. In the end we had to stay at the top of the ravine. We couldn’t cook because they might see the fire but we had nothing to cook except a bit of pork and the last cans of sardines and we had no water. It was an uncomfortable night. The radio told us that the soldiers had fought with a group of six guerrillas on September 30th. That’s all they know.
We stayed high on the ridge because Urbano who had gone down scouting said he’d seen peasants and heard them talking about us. Later in the day we came down the hill because we were so thirsty. We made coffee even though the water was bitter and the pot was greasy. It was liquid and it gave me life. We also ate some food, corn and tapir. Then in the middle of the night we took our lives in our hands and began our march again towards the Rio Grande.
The radio said they’ve caught Leon and Camba. They deserve to be caught. I just hope they don’t inform on us. We went down into a deep ravine in the hopes that we’ll escape the soldiers.
We were up and down ravines all day. It’s tiring when you are so hungry, but also mentally tough when you expect to be shot at every moment. The radio keeps saying that they have Che in their sights, that they are closing in on us. And the problem is, it could well be true. We will need to be smart to get out of this.
Marching again. No cover again. Just some wooded areas but nothing that would really hide us. We’ve had nothing to drink and Eustaquio made a fool of himself, breaking down crying for water. We finally made camp in a small wood. It offered some cover but not that safe as you can hear dogs barking nearby. I feel hunted. Pombo says we will probably have to head for the high ridge of the ravine tomorrow. Benigno’s wound was weeping (not as loudly as Eustaquio though) and Moro is still suffering badly.
We discovered that our hiding place was really close to a house. The scouting party went out and also found some water in a ravine a short distance away. So it’s towards the water we went. When we got here we found a big rock ledge and using it as a roof, stayed underneath cooking. That way no one would see the fire. There are a lot of habitations around so it’s not safe to stay here and we’ll move on tomorrow. We caught the radio signal for Chilean radio which says there are nearly two thousand men in the area looking for us. I don’t want to believe that. I nearly threw the radio down the ravine because I don’t want to feel like some hunted, trapped animal. Chino is struggling, falling down all the time and Che helping him up. But Che’s feet are cut to pieces and he won’t let me help him. I begged him to take my boots, even though they are not much good, they are better than sandals. He refused of course. ‘Wouldn’t want to upset Nato,’ he joked – it was Nato who made the sandals. I wish I could make him take my boots.
The story is nearly over... come back tomorrow for the final episode... or you can get the whole thing in paperback HERE