Transformation of Ernesto
by Ernesto Guevara
I don’t know when or how things came about.
My memory is hazy. I remember how, in the middle of firing, Almeida
came up to me to ask what orders there were, but there was no longer anyone
to give them. As I found out later, Fidel tried in vain to gather
men together in the nearby sugar cane plantation, which could be reached
by just crossing the property line. The surprise had been too much,
the gunfire too heavy. Almeida took charge of his group again.
Just then a comrade dropped an ammunition
case at my feet. I pointed this out to him & I remember well
how he answered me, with worry written all over his face: “This is no time
for ammunition cases.” & he immediately headed off to the sugar
Maybe that was the first time I had to
make a practical choice between my vocation for medicine & my duty
as revolutionary soldier. I had a backpack full of medicine &
an ammunition case in front of me; together they weighed too much to be
carried. I grabbed the ammunition case & left the backpack behind
& crossed the clearing between me & the canebreak. I can
remember Faustino Pérez perfectly, kneeling at the boundary line,
firing his machine pistol. Near me a comrade called Albentosa was
walking toward the cane plantation. A burst of gunfire just like
the others hit us; I felt something hit me hard in the chest & a wound
in my neck. I gave myself up for dead.