Copyright: © 2005 Aleida March, Che Guevara Studies Center and Ocean Press. Reprinted with their permission. Not to be reproduced in any form without the written permission of Ocean Press. For further information contact Ocean Press at and via its website at

After this small army was reunited, we decided to leave the region of El Lomón and move to new ground. Along the way, we continued making contact with peasants in the area and laying the necessary groundwork for our subsistence. At the same time, we were leaving the Sierra Maestra and walking toward the plains, where we were to meet those involved in organizing the cities.

We passed through a village called La Montería, and afterward camped in a small grove of trees near a river, on a farm belonging to a man named Epifanio Díaz, whose sons fought in the revolution.

We sought to establish tighter contact within the July 26 Movement, for our nomadic and clandestine life made impossible any exchange between the two parts of the July 26 Movement. Practically speaking, these were two separate groups, with different tactics and strategies. The deep rift that in later months would endanger the unity of the movement had not yet appeared, but we could already see that our ideas were different.

At that farm we met with the most important figures in the urban movement. Among them were three women known today to all the Cuban people: Vilma Espín, now president of the Federation of Cuban Women and Raúl [Castro's] compañera ; Haydée Santamaría, now president of Casa de las Américas and Armando Hart's compañera ; and Celia Sánchez, our beloved compañera throughout every moment of the struggle, who in order to be close to us later joined the guerrillas for the duration of the war. Another figure to visit was Faustino Pérez, an old acquaintance of ours, and a compañero from the Granma , who had carried out several missions in the city and came to report to us, before returning to continue his urban mission. (A short while later he was taken prisoner.)

We also met Armando Hart, and I had my only opportunity to meet that great leader from Santiago, Frank País. Frank País was one of those people who command respect from the first meeting; he looked more or less as he appears in the photographs we have of him today, though his eyes were extraordinarily deep.

It is difficult, today, to speak of a dead compañero I met only once, whose history now belongs to the people. I can only say of him that his eyes revealed he was a man possessed by a cause, who had faith in it, and that he was clearly a superior kind of person. Today he is called “the unforgettable Frank País”; and for me, who saw him only once, that is true. Frank is another of the many compañeros who, had their lives not been cut short, would today be dedicating themselves to the common task of the socialist revolution. This loss is part of the heavy price the people have paid to gain their liberation.

Frank gave us a quiet lesson in order and discipline, cleaning our dirty rifles, counting bullets, and packing them so they would not get lost. From that day, I made a promise to take better care of my gun (and I did so, although I can't say I was ever a model of meticulousness).

That same grove of trees was also the scene of other events. For the first time we were visited by a journalist, and a foreign journalist at that — the famous [Herbert] Matthews, who brought to the conversation only a small box camera, with which he took the photos so widely distributed later and so hotly disputed in the stupid statements of a Batista minister. Javier Pazos acted as interpreter; he later joined the guerrillas and remained for some time.

Matthews, according to Fidel, for I was not present at the interview, asked unambiguous questions, none of them tricky, and he appeared to sympathize with the revolution. To the question of whether he was anti-imperialist, Fidel said he replied in the affirmative, and also that he objected to the [US] arms deliveries to Batista, insisting that these would not be used for continental defense but rather to oppress the people.

Matthews' visit was naturally very brief. As soon as he left us we were ready to move on. We were warned, however, to redouble our guard since Eutimio was in the area; Almeida was quickly ordered to find him and take him prisoner. Julito Díaz, Ciro Frías, Camilo Cienfuegos, and Efigenio Ameijeiras were also in the patrol. It was Ciro Frías who overcame Eutimio easily, and he was brought to us. We found a .45 pistol on him, three grenades and a safe conduct pass from Casillas. Once captured with this incriminating evidence, he could not doubt his fate. He fell on his knees before Fidel and asked simply that we kill him. He said he knew he deserved to die. He seemed to have aged; there were a good many grey hairs at his temple I had never noticed before.

The moment was extraordinarily tense. Fidel reproved him harshly for his betrayal, and Eutimio wanted only to be shot, recognizing his guilt. None of us will forget when Ciro Frías, a close friend of Eutimio, began to speak. He reminded Eutimio of everything he had done for him, of the little favors he and his brother had done for Eutimio's family, and of how Eutimio had betrayed them, first by causing the death of Ciro's brother — who Eutimio had turned over to the army and who had been killed by them a few days before — and then by trying to destroy the whole group. It was a long, emotional tirade, which Eutimio listened to silently, his head bent. He was asked if he wanted anything and he answered that yes, he wanted the revolution, or better said us, to take care of his children.

The revolution has kept this promise. The name Eutimio Guerra resurfaces today in this book, but it has already been forgotten, perhaps even by his children. They go by another name and attend one of our many schools; they receive the same treatment as all the children of the country, and are working toward a better life. One day, however, they will have to know that their father was brought to revolutionary justice because of his treachery. It is also just that they know that the peasant — who in his craving for glory and wealth had been tempted by corruption and had tried to commit a grave crime — had nevertheless recognized his error. He had not even hinted at asking for clemency, which he knew he did not deserve. They should also know that in his last moments he remembered his children and asked our leader that they be treated well.

A heavy storm broke and the sky darkened. In the midst of the deluge, lightning streaking the sky, and the rumble of thunder, one lightning bolt struck followed closely by a clap of thunder, and Eutimio Guerra's life was ended. Even those compañeros standing near him could not hear the shot.

I remember a small episode as we were burying him the following day. Manuel Fajardo wanted to put a cross over his grave, but I didn't let him because such evidence of an execution would have been very dangerous for the owners of the property we were camped on. So he cut a small cross into the trunk of a nearby tree. And this is the sign marking the grave of the traitor.

The gallego Morán left us at that time; by then he knew how little we thought of him. We all considered him a potential deserter (he had disappeared once for two or three days with the excuse that he had been following Eutimio and had got lost in the woods). As we prepared to leave, a shot sounded and we found Morán with a bullet in the leg. Those who were nearby later sustained themselves with many heated discussions on this: some said the shot was accidental and others that he shot himself so he wouldn't have to follow us.

Morán's subsequent history — his treachery and his death at the hands of revolutionaries in Guantánamo — suggests he very probably shot himself intentionally.

When we had left, Frank País agreed to send a group of men in the first days of the following month, March. They were to join us at Epifanio Díaz's house, in the vicinity of El Jíbaro.

Copyright: © 2005 Aleida March, Che Guevara Studies Center and Ocean Press. Reprinted with their permission. Not to be reproduced in any form without the written permission of Ocean Press. For further information contact Ocean Press at and via its website at