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I wrote the report, which took up most of the front page, and ever since have puzzled over the motives of its hero. Evidence that communist guerrillas have established themselves in strength in the Bolivian jungle, with the possibility of raids into neighbouring countries, has been given by the Bolivian Army's discovery of a strongly fortified mountain base. The guerrillas, believed to have links with the Cuban regime of Dr Castro, appear to be well equipped and far more skilled in jungle fighting than the troops opposing them.
A field hospital formed one part of the base. I have just returned from the four-day jungle patrol with the 1st Battalion, Fourth Division, of the Bolivian Army, which discovered the strongly fortified base of Castro-type communist guerrillas deep in the jungle.
Our find is the first positive proof that communist guerrillas have in fact established themselves in strength in this politically explosive country in the heart of South America, bordering on virtually unmapped parts of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. This vast new extension southwards of communist guerrilla activity came to light by accident when a patrol of six men under a lieutenant of the Bolivian Army was wiped out on 23 March in a skilfully set ambush in a gorge in the foothills of the Andes.
Two days later another patrol of fourteen men and two officers, sent to look for the missing men, was ambushed, taken prisoner and released after forty-eight hours. The returning prisoners, who were illiterate Bolivian conscripts, told fantastic stories of bearded Russians and Chinese. Most Bolivians believed that the guerrillas were, in fact, a band of cocaine or marijuana smugglers, as both drugs grow freely in this wild part of the world.
Foreign observers suspected that the Bolivian Government had invented or magnified the guerrillas in order to get American support on the eve of the conference of Latin American presidents at Punta del Este, Uruguay. In fact, an American diplomatist said to me, 'The Bolivians are trying to put the squeeze on us for more arms aid', and I was charged to make an unofficial report to the Americans of whether the guerrillas, in fact, existed.
My report is that the facts are nearly as fantastic as the rumours. Our patrol marched twelve miles into the jungle-clad Andes foothills on a trail which the Army cut in four days. This double-canopied primeval jungle is full of snakes, huge spiders, jaguars, and boa constrictors.
I rate this the densest jungle I have ever seen — thicker than the jungles of Vietnam. We bivouacked by the side of a small, unnamed river running through a gorge between foot, jungle-clad cliffs. Then we waded up the thigh-deep river, a six-hour march, being eaten alive by mosquitos and leeches.
We passed the spot where the patrol was trapped with the bloodstained uniforms lying on the sandy shore of the stream. I inspected the expertly placed weapons pits in the cliffs from which the ambush was sprung and began to doubt that this was the work of marijuana smugglers. Two hours' further march up the river one of uni trade brokers manzanillo tv released prisoners guided us past the concealed entrance of a track following a small creek up the side of the gorge.
At every turn of this track were well-placed intercommunicating weapon pits — which would have delighted a Sandhurst instructor in jungle warfare. Then we found a fully equipped field kitchen with a big oven capable of baking bread uni trade brokers manzanillo tv at least a hundred men. Near it were healthy gardens, growing vegetables, and a butcher's shop where mules had been cut up with machetes.
From the condition of the meat I judged that the camp had been evacuated no more than three days ago. A little farther along the trail, under the dense canopy of trees and creepers was a well-equipped field hospital.
I found empty packets of antibiotics, surgical dressings and instruments manufactured in Italy, Britain, West Germany and the United States. The canvas covering of the big hospital tent had been taken away but I saw an operating table and seats for patients to wait outside, all made of jungle timbers bound together with creepers.
A hundred yards farther on was the dormitory area. In this area were more than fifty home-made hand grenades. These had been welded up in a clandestine factory somewhere from empty fruit juice cans and lengths of gas pipe filled with sticks of dynamite and fired by detonators.
These grenades, which were neatly painted green, had been used with deadly effect on the wiped-out patrol.
Among the rubbish neatly raked from the dormitory area, I found a picture of Dr Che Guevara the former lieutenant of Dr Castro taken in a jungle and a copy of a speech by General Vo Nguyen Giap, of North Vietnam, translated into Spanish. It was impossible that these could have been 'planted' as I found them myself in the rubbish and the Bolivian patrol with me had never heard of Giap.
The uni trade brokers manzanillo tv camp showed every sign of an orderly evacuation, uni trade brokers manzanillo tv nothing of value had been left behind and attempts had been made to burn all documents. Judging by a pile of spent cartridge cases, one part of the camp had been used for weapons training.
All the cases were of American manufacture. From the main guerrilla base, well-trodden trails led off into the jungle in all directions. I explored several and found that they led to sentry positions in the cliffs overlooking the gorge which were well camouflaged with a covering of leaves.
It was clear that the whole position was the work of experts with an excellent grounding in guerrilla war. In fact the guerrillas have much to teach the Bolivian Army. It was clear that the guerrillas have moved out with their equipment on mules uni trade brokers manzanillo tv the north, in the direction of the headwaters of the Amazon. I flew over this area with Colonel Rocha, commanding the Bolivian Fourth Division, in a Beechcraft but the jungle makes a solid green skin over the earth and it is impossible to see anything on the ground.
Much remains mysterious about the guerrillas. As far as I could discover in the small towns of Lagunillas and Camiri, within fifty miles of the guerrillas' jungle base, they made no attempt to indoctrinate local people. My own estimate is that the Bolivians stumbled on the training base where the guerrillas were getting into shape for an effort in the jungle heart of South America, with raids into Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina as the opportunity offers.
I have no way of estimating how many guerrillas are under arms, uni trade brokers manzanillo tv I should be surprised if the base I saw is the only one they have. Only when researching this essay did I notice that its uni trade brokers manzanillo tv differed from my original.
After the mention of Guevara's photo someone in New York had written in: Spies of all lands, then unaware of Guevara's 'missing year' in Africa, united in the opinion that he was dead. But the photo I saw was of a gaunt, lined Che who looked older than the sleek bureaucrat I had met briefly in Havana. The issue was resolved beyond doubt when, six months later, Che was hunted down, captured wounded, identified and executed by the Bolivian Army.
Write-in apart, my report turned out to have been quite prescient uni trade brokers manzanillo tv, as important, generally accurate — marred by a few misspellings from my water-splashed notebook.
Che himself in his campaign diary had trouble transcribing the local name of the river running by his camp, which is generally spelled Nancahuasu. I have a mosaic of recollections to add to my published report. We waded up the river, often thigh-deep. I can still see leeches clinging to my bare legs in the shallows.
The soldiers I was with — some looked no more than fourteen, conscription age in Bolivia — were totally without training or discipline, terrifying to someone fresh from Vietnam. They joked, sang, wandered down the centre of the gorge, overlooked from both sides, and took pot-shots at birds, signalling our approach for miles around.
Another patrol was ambushed in that gorge uni trade brokers manzanillo tv days later. They wandered around the guerrilla camp more like day-trippers than soldiers mimicking ignorance — uni trade brokers manzanillo tv, more likely, utterly incompetent. But were the amateurish Bolivians the only incompetents? The thought troubled me as I flew back to La Paz, and it troubles me still. I had little doubt that the mysterious 'Ramon' reported by the released prisoners was Guevara, but it was equally clear that he had selected an impossible part of Bolivia from which to foment revolution in La Paz or anywhere else.
What could his guerrilla band — no matter how many Bolivian soldiers they killed or their weapons seized — offer the few local inhabitants? Not land — as I saw, there were whole baronies and duchies going uncultivated. What uni trade brokers manzanillo tv needed was infrastructure, roads, electricity and so on. The guerrillas had no good arguments to counter the efforts of the army, and had not even tried to present them.
I assumed that a prudent escape would be Guevara's next move, and that Bolivia would revert to unstable obscurity. On 6 JuneI was in Tel Aviv, embroiled in another seemingly never-ending conflict, and I know nothing at first hand about Guevara's subsequent death. Nevertheless, journalism — at least, my free-range kind — still has an interest, even after clippings mildew and computer discs corrupt. Not as 'a first rough draft of history', to be tidied up at leisure by academic historians.
But journalism is history written by those who don't know how the story ended, and are therefore unsure of what to look for, or what risks are worth running. Sometimes history's great 'whys' are never answered, sometimes they are — but only decades later. Uni trade brokers manzanillo tv believe I understand why Guevara died as he did.
A psychological portrait of anyone can be no more than suggestive; in the case of the dead, doubly so. But it is all we have. Who, then, was Che? A trickle of books has since appeared, rising to a torrent in recent years, together with films, DVDs and the omnipresent T-shirts.
From these sources, we know that the future Che was born Ernesto Guevara de la Serna on 14 Uni trade brokers manzanillo tvin the river port of Rosario, Argentina, two hundred and ninety kilometres upstream from Buenos Aires on uni trade brokers manzanillo tv Parana River, into one of the uni trade brokers manzanillo tv aristocratic lineages in the New World.
His father, Ernesto Guevara Lynch, was the twelfth generation of a family prominent in Argentina which included Patrick Lynch, an Irish soldier of fortune and eighteenth-century governor of the Rio de la Plata province in which Buenos Aires stands. His mother, Celia de la Serna y Llosa, uni trade brokers manzanillo tv not only descended from the last Spanish viceroy of Peru but had retained some of the family fortune, which financed the bohemian but unmistakeably upper-class lifestyle of the Guevaras.
At two, Ernestito — or 'little Ernest', his family nickname — was diagnosed with severe and lifelong asthma. Rosario had already seen much history. It was there in that General Manuel Belgrano first raised the Argentinean flag of independence from Spain. Argentina's first, British-built, railway terminated there. New Australia is one of the strangest episodes in our history, an indelible link between Australia and Latin America.
The colony was the brainchild of the British-born radical journalist William Lane who arrived in Australia at twenty-four, hoping to find, or found, a truly just and equitable society. Born with a club foot, the diminutive Lane was incapable of manual work but compensated with a golden pen with which he urged others to do so. The defeat of the Queensland shearers' strike uni trade brokers manzanillo tv convinced him and his disciples uni trade brokers manzanillo tv a just society was no longer possible in old Australia and that the only solution was to start a new one somewhere else.
Inspired by Lane, scouts with farming experience searched for a suitable site. They found one in the landlocked republic of Paraguay, further up the Parana River from Rosario. A war simultaneously fought with Bolivia, Argentina and Brazil had reduced the male population of Paraguay to twenty-five thousand and the Paraguayan government needed to re-stock the country with vigorous immigrants.
Lane, a lifelong abstainer whose father had been alcoholic, was shocked to his puritanical core by this predictable behaviour, ruling that henceforth alcohol and sex outside marriage, especially with the local Guarani Indians, would be strictly forbidden. The colonists proceeded up the Parana River in smaller vessels to Paraguay and New Australia was officially founded on 28 September There is no evidence that Guevara had ever heard of Lane uni trade brokers manzanillo tv New Australia but the resemblance between them is striking.
Both were physically handicapped authoritarians, unable to empathise with the failings of 'ordinary people'. Both believed that human frailty could be overcome by the force of the will and that a just society would emerge. After a few years of bickering, Lane and his closest disciples stormed out of New Australia to found a new colony, Cosme, seventy-two kilometres down river.