I REMEMBER that when I entered the embassy, there was a big mirror on the left side of the main door. And in the first seconds all the shooting was causing great confusion. So I forgot the mirror was there. And when I looked over to that side, with my weapon in my arms, I shot three times at my own image and threw myself onto the floor. So I had a duel with my own reflection in the first seconds.
Comandante Uno, the M-19 guerrilla who led the assault on the Dominican Republic's embassy in Bogota last spring, is a 33-year-old former shoolteacher from the southern Colombia city of Cali. His real name is Rosenberg Pabon Pabon. He has curly black hair and a wide mouth, and wears black-framed glasses.He says his parents named him after Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, the American couple executed in 1953 on charges they passed atomic secrets to the Soviets.
This tape, the spoken answers to a series of written questions from a Washington Post reporter, was recorded inside the prison where Pabon is being held and was carried out by a visitor. Someone who knows Pabon well identified the voice as his .
The 61 days we were in the embassy, we certainly went through thousands of pleasant moments, moments of great joy. There were also some very difficult moments, certain tragic moments, certain comic ones . . . There was a woman who hid her jewels in her most intimate parts, thinking we were assailants and thieves. But she forgot aferward where she had put her jewels. Later she asked permission to go to the bathroom, having forgotten, and afterward she confessed that it had been the costliest urination of her life.
I remeber one incident with the Haitian ambassador . . . In the mornings when I passed near his bed, I always saluted him . . . And once I forgot to greet him that way. Later he was preoccupied and sad, and when they talked to me he told me that he thought if I wasn't greeting him it was because that day I planned to do him some harm and that I was going to shoot him soon. This caused a lot of laughter. I had never thought such a thing -- it was just that I forgot, because of all the problems we had in the embassy . . .
We demonstrated throughout the 61 days that in Colombia there are indeed political prisoners . . . We got the media, publishing on a national and international level, to demonstrate that in Colombia there is no real democracy, not even the outlines of a democracy, that in Colombia torture still goes on, and in a systematic way . . . Our organization was recognized as a political organization . . .
I always considered that the guerrilla is a social transformer. He is a populist fighter whose only crime is to rebel, with all his arms, against the politicians and militarymen, against a social system that exploits, that assassinates . . . To fight, you have to believe in what you're fighting for -- in where you are, in where you're going. I think I'm completely convinced about what we're doing.