10 / CHRONICLESnthing—without hope, or desire, for an answer.nIn Cuzco, I was continually having to make way fornoverburdened women with children on their backs as theyntried to go right through me. They ran with short, choppynsteps, contracted into wounded kernels, oblivious to gringos,nstreets, even the hills of their awesome country.nIf Octavio Paz might argue that being white meant beingnguilty, Borges, the great blind seer of the Library of Babel,nwould never have done that—an irrevocable European, tonPaz’s reluctant acknowledgment of his heritage (Paz: “JohnnCage is American / that the U.S.A. may become / justnanother part of the world. / No more, no less”), Borgesnknew his mythologies.n”The Indios don’t produce anything,” Rodrigo said tonme. “Only as much as they need themselves, no more.nThey are not a part of the economy. They do not consume.nI hate them; I hate to look at them.”n”But they are so beautiful,” Marilena said to me, smilingnbeatifically.nRodrigo was a strapping young man from Ecuador whonlived next to me on the flat roof of Seiiora Raquel’s Pensionnin Lima, whereas Marilena was a rich man’s daughter, andna curator of a museum.nRodrigo and his father, both white, occupied a minutencubicle with enough room for two iron beds and a wardrobenof books. Rodrigo looked forward to studying navigation innSpain, whereas Marilena, a natural blonde, looked forwardnonly to going to the sierra, and feeling good about herselfnAs we sat in the great lounge of her father’s house,nMarilena listened to my impressions of the Andes. “ThenRevolution,” said Roberto Ortiz, her boyfriend and myncolleague, “is going to change everything. You will see thenIndios brighten up and become gaudy like their ponchosnand caps.”n”I wish it were so,” I said.n”It will be so,” smiled Roberto. Like a D’Artagnan henstood, his blue eyes flashing. “If Argentina had to go to pot,nPeru will not. There’s so much work to be done, hombre!”n”The Revolution,” I said, “I’ve seen it. My father andnmother fought in one. My kin died in it, along with manynothers. Hundreds of thousands were imprisoned, crippled,nor humiliated. It doesn’t work.”n”Maybe,” said Roberto, “your revolution wasn’t the rightnone? Maybe the men who led it weren’t the right people?”nI looked at him. He was smiling—a magnificent gaucho,non the run from the Argentine military. There was nothingnI could tell him. I have seen the same obstinate, willfulnrefusal to see in my own Yugoslavia, so we talked aboutnother things.nWhen Benjamin Linder was killed in Nicaragua at thenend of April this year, his left-wing father blamed RonaldnReagan for his death. Benjamin Linder, a Sandinista, hadngone to Nicaragua like Marilena, to fill a void in his soul.nWhether the contras killed him by accident or design isnimmaterial. Linder had “placed himself in harm’s way,”nand the harm had come to him, as he had sought it.nRevolutions mean death, which Linder, as a good American,nwas unwilling to accept. Daniel Ortega, the boutiqueeyeglassedndictator of Nicaragua, attended the young American’snfuneral, playing the game that has become obvious toneveryone but the American media. As Newsweek ran photosnnnof contras killing a Sandinista with their knives, nobody sawnit fitting to remind the American reading public that killingnin anger is no worse than the Sandinistas’ methodicaln”liquidations.”n”Revolucion es una mierda sexual,” Rosas had said, ancholo, a professional revolutionary, and a professor at thenUniversity of Lima. He drove a silver BMW and had twonother cars for errands, but to Roberto and me he paid slavenwages. “There’ll be more,” he’d tell us, smiling.n”Mariana,” I’d say, and he’d laugh merrily.nThere was also the bearded Jorge, whose surname begannwith a “de.” He also asked me what I thought of thenRevolution, having come from a Communist country. Inhad to tell him I thought nothing, never having seen onenthat was genuine. I was still a socialist then but had alreadynbegun to think of the Revolution allegorically. Wanting tonimpress me, Jorge revealed that he and his movie-directornwife watched Cuban movies in the Peruvian Ministry ofnLabor.nSitting on the sidewalk, in large areas of downtownnLima, innumerable people sold rotten bananas, old newspapers,nused sandals made of old tires, fruit juices fromnfilthy glasses, pieces of barbecued meat, peanuts, mirrors,nsaints, hats, shoelaces, blankets, souvenirs, books, clothing.nI hoped to God someone was buying.nMaybe Marilena is still alive, having had the sense to stopnvisiting the Indios after the Sendero Luminoso began theirnkillings. The Shining Path guerrillas, inspired by Pol Pot’snKhmer Rouge, are prowling the hills of Ayacucho today,nusing their machetes to lop off the limbs of any Indios whonare unwilling to exterminate the gringos.nWhen B. Traven wrote The Treasure of the Sierra Madre,nThe Rebellion of the Hanged, The White Rose, and othernbooks about his adopted Mexico, he was acclaimed as a newnJack London, and a champion of the oppressed. WhethernB. Traven was Beriek Traven Torsan, born May 5, 1890, ofnScandinavian parents in Chicago, or just an expatriatenGerman, the lure of Latin America was as strong in hisntime, as in ours, and as deadly. Benjamin Linder succumbednto it like a fallen angel, naive or vain enough to trynto exculpate a whole nation. Like many college-educatednyoung Americans, he felt guilty about being fed, washed,nand clothed, in the face of Nicaraguan misery. In his novelnUnderdogs, Mariano Azuela writes of a young intellectualnthat he “already shared this hidden, implacably mortalnhatred of the upper classes, of his officers, and his superiors,nfelt that a veil had been removed from his eyes; clearly, nownhe saw the final outcome of the struggle.” The Tenderfoot,nas Pancho Villa’s soldiers called him, was not an Indian butnwas trying his best to become one, and the peasants pitiednhim.nIn the Museum of Fine Arts in Lima, only a single roomnbore the sign “Pre-Columbian Art.” The rest belonged tonthe bric-a-brac of Europe, barbarically interpreted by a NewnWorld. I passed savage churches in misused stone and sawncrowds of people crossing themselves in their murky depthsnor just passing by. I walked under heavy, carved, woodennbalconies, in a city that had no sun, and where the dustncovered everything like a plague.nBeside Lima was the ocean. Muddy green, its waves longnand rolling, almost hidden by the fog, the ocean whis-n