One Hundred Years of Solitude - Chapter 7


   “Don’t shoot,?the captain said to Jos?Arcadio. “You were sent by Divine Providence.?
   Another war began right there. Captain Roque Carnicero and his six men left with Colonel Aureliano Buendía to free the revolutionary general Victorio Medina, who had been condemned to death in Riohacha. They thought they could save time by crossing the mountains along the trail that Jos?Arcadio Buendía had followed to found Macondo, but before a week was out they were convinced that it was an impossible undertaking. So they had to follow the dangerous route over the outcroppings; with no other munitions but what the firing squad had. They would camp near the towns and one of them, with a small gold fish in his hand, would go in disguise in broad daylight to contact the dormant Liberals, who would go out hunting on the following morning and never return. When they saw Riohacha from a ridge in the mountains, General Victorio Medina had been shot. Colonel Aureliano Buendía’s men proclaimed him chief of the revolutionary forces of the Caribbean coast with the rank of general. He assumed the position but refused the promotion and took the stand that he would never accept it as long as the Conservative regime was in power. At the end of three months they had succeeded in arming more than a thousand men, but they were wiped out. The survivors reached the eastern frontier. The next thing that was heard of them was that they had landed on Cabo de la Vela, coming from the smaller islands of the Antilles, and a message from the government was sent all over by telegraph and included in jubilant proclamations throughout the country announcing the death of Colonel Aureliano Buendía. But two days later a multiple telegram which almost overtook the previous one announced another uprising on the southern plains. That was how the legend of the ubiquitous Colonel Aureliano Buendía, began. Simultaneous and contradictory information declared him victorious in Villanueva. defeated in Guacamayal, devoured by Motilón Indians, dead in a village in the swamp, and up in arms again in Urumita. The Liberal leaders, who at that moment were negotiating for participation in the congress, branded him in adventurer who did not represent the party. The national government placed him in the category of a bandit and put a price of five thousand pesos on his head. After sixteen defeats, Colonel Aureliano Buendía left Guajira with two thousand well-armed Indians and the garrison, which was taken by surprise as it slept, abandoned Riohacha. He established his headquarters there and proclaimed total war against the regime. The first message he received from the government was a threat to shoot Colonel Gerineldo Márquez within forty-eight hours if he did not withdraw with his forces to the eastern frontier. Colonel Roque Carnicero, who was his chief of staff then, gave him the telegram with a look of consternation, but he read it with unforeseen joy.