COLOMBIA — The evening falls and the creek which will be a mandatory step in the trek towards the next “guerrilla haven” on the list of the feared Carlos Castaño, grows. This makes him impatient. The troops clean their M-16 and the AK-47 guns, get their cartridge holders, grenade-launchers, knives and mortars ready. With skillfulness they, most of them dark-skinned men between 25 and 20 years old, pack their provisions in their bags, strap their CB radios, and put on the black armband with white letters which read ACU: (Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia) United Self-Defenses of Colombia. Silent, they stand on line formation on the plain terrain in front of the hut where we are talking to Castaño. In the meantime, inside, the self-defenses leader uses an increasingly political language. “Corruption weakens the Government and strengthens outlawed forces like us and like the guerrillas who even refuse to talk to President Samper,” he says again, while a hill of cigarette butts grows and the coffee that “the boy” — as he is still referred to by some of his acquaintances — drinks in gushes, is drained over and over again.