Книги: Episodes of the Revolutionary War, Ernesto Che Guevara
Episodes of the Revolutionary War,
Ernesto Che Guevara
End of a Traitor
once our little army was organized, we decided to abandon the El Lomon region. On the way, we made contacts with peasants and established bases necessary for our survival. We kept going away from the Sierra Maestra, toward the plains where we could get in touch with the comrades operating in the cities.
We passed by a hamlet called "La Monteria" and camped in a thicket of woods near a stream, in a plantation owned by Epifanio Diaz, whose sons had joined the Revolution.
We wanted closer contact with the 26th of July Movement. Our nomad existence made it practically impossible to contact its members.
Actually, we were two distinct groups, of different tactics and strategy. The great split that months later was to place the Movement's unity in danger had not yet materialized but one could feel chat the concepts were different.
It was on this farm that we met the outstanding figures of the Movement in the city, among them three women, well known to all of Cuba today: Vilma Espin, now President of the Federation of Cuban Women and Raul Castro's wife, Haydee Santamaria, now President of the Casa de las Americas and Armando Hart's wife, and Celia Sanchez, our beloved comrade in every moment of the struggle, who was soon to join our group for the duration of the war. There was also Faustino Perez, an old friend and Granma comrade, who had come to report to us on his mission to the city and rush back once again. Shortly afterwards he was taken prisoner.
We met Armando Hart, and I then had my only opportunity to spend some time with the great leader from Santiago, Frank Pais.
Frank was one of those men who make a lasting Impact at first sight. His present photos are quite accurate but it was his eyes that impressed me most. It is very difficult to write about a comrade now dead, whom I only saw once and whose life is well known to everyone. All I could see in his eyes was the fire of a man possessed by a cause, with faith in it. It was evident that he was an extraordinary person. Today he is called "the unforgettable Frank Pais," and that is the way I feel about it, although I only saw him once. Frank is another comrade whose life would be now devoted to the common task of the Socialist Revolution; he is part of the enormous price that our people had to pay for their freedom.
He gave us a si1ent lesson in order . and discipline, cleaning our dirty rifles, taking stock of the ammunition and keeping every round in place'. Since that first day, I made a pledge to take care of my weapon. I kept my pledge, too, although I must say I was never too meticulous.
The little thicket of woods was the scene of other interesting events. For the first time, we were to be interviewed by a reporter, and a foreign reporter at that. This man was Matthews, who brought with him a small box-type camera with which he took the pictures that were so widely disseminated and later disputed in the stupid statements of one of Batista's ministers. The interpreter was Javier Pazos. who later joined the guerrillas where he remained for a long time.
I was not present at the interview. Fidel told me later that Matthews had asked concrete questions. He had asked no "loaded" questions and seemed to sympathize with the Revolution. I remember Fidel's comments about how he had given an affirmative reply to Matthews' question as to whether Fidel was an anti-imperialist. Fidel had objected against the delivery of armament to Batiste and had told Matthews that the arms were not for intercontinental defense but rather to be used against the people.
Matthews' visit was a short one. Once he left, we got ready to leave. We were warned to keep our eyes open because Eutimio was somewhere nearby. Almeida was ordered to go and capture him. Accompanying him were Julito Diaz, Ciro Frias, Camilo Cienfuegos and Efigenio Ameijeiras. Ciro Frias overpowered Eutimio – not a difficult task – and brought him to us. He was carrying a 45 caliber pistol, 3 hand grenades and a pass signed by Casillas. By then Eutimio was convinced that he was to be executed. He fell to his knees at Fidel's feet and simply asked to be shot, saying that he deserved to die. He seemed to have aged all of a sudden; his temples were gray, something I had never noticed before. There was a tense moment. Fidel began to berate Eutimio, and Eutimio kept asking to be shot. We will never forget the moment when Ciro Frias, who was a close friend of Eutimio's, began to talk to him. He spoke of all the favors he had done for him, of how he and his brother had always helped Eutimio's family. Then he confronted him with his crime: first, Eutimio had informed on Ciro's brother and the boy had been murdered, next, Eutimio had tried to have our entire group exterminated. It was a long, pathetic statement that Eutimio heard without uttering a word. He was asked if he had something to say and he said he wanted the Revolution, that is, us, to take care of his children .
The Revolution kept its promise. Eutimio Guerra is simply a name that comes to mind when writing these notes but otherwise it has been forgotten, perhaps even by his own children. Under a different name, they are now attending school, receiving the same treatment as all other sons of the people, preparing themselves fox a better life, but some day they will have to be told that the peasant who let himself be tempted by power and money, in addition to recognizing his crime, never asked for clemency – which he knew he did not deserve – but instead, asked our leader to be kind and benevolent to his children.
At that moment, a tremendous storm broke out and it got very dark: amidst a veritable deluge interrupted by lightning bolts and thunder, the life of Eutimio Guerre was snuffed out. No one heard the shot that killed him.
We buried him the following day. A little incident occurred when Manuel Fajardo tried to place a cross over the grave, I objected, saying that it would involve great danger for the owner of the farm. Then Fajardo carved a cross on a nearby tree. That is the only sign showing the resting place of a traitor.
Moran quit at that time. He knew we did not care for him and that we all thought of him as a potential deserter. He had previously disappeared for some days with the excuse that he had been trailing Eutimio and had become lost in the woods.
Just when we were ready to depart, we heard a shot and found Moran with a bullet in his leg. Comrades who happened to be near him held long arguments among themselves. Some of them said the shot was an accident, while others claimed that Moran had done it on purpose so as not to stay with our group.
Moran's later behaviour, his act of treason and his death at the hands of the Guantanamo revolutionaries, make it quite evident that he shot himself intentionally.
We final1y left the farm. Prank Pais had promised to send us a group of men around the beginning of March; the rendezvous was to be at Epifanio Diaz's house, near El Jibaro.