Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pancho Villa

I was talking about Pancho Villa a little while back. He still remains a powerful figure in the imagination of Mexico, particularly in the North. Vendors on the bridges wore Pancho Villa T-shirts when I used to cross to work. When I was teaching in Cd. Juárez, I had students whose forebears were figures in the Revolution of 1910, including one whose great-grandfather was one of Villa's Dorados, the Golden Ones who were Villa's shock troops. Villa had a real talent for small-unit cavalry actions, but was badly beaten when he came up against Álvaro Obregón, my favorite character from the Revolution. At Celaya, Obregón set up machine guns sited for enfilading fire that shot to ribbons Villa's troops when they tried to deliver the massive charge that Villa called the golpe terrífico, the terrific blow, that was his trademark tactic. From EP Times, July 21, 1923, a story on Pancho Villa after his murder. The writer knew Villa and writes of him in an even-handed manner.
With the passing of Villa the most picturesque character Mexico has produced in modern times takes his place in the history of the war-torn republic. Feeling toward Villa among the Mexican people is divided. To some he was a hero, patriot and a liberator, while to others, who had lost their families and fortunes at Villa’s hands, he was a bandit of the worst breed.

Read the whole thing here. It's from the EP Times blog taken from old issues of the local papers.


Pilot said...

Great story and history lesson.....I am sure there are others like myself, who when trying to picture Villa, have this image of a larger than life bandido on his caballo, with crossed ammunition belts on his chest, a Colt(or two) sidearms, wearing a serape and a huge sombrero. The car ride from the border through Arizona, pretty much wipes that picture away, and serves to modernize my image of him.

Edith Ann said...

You forgot the large moustache and the bushy eyebrows. Atleast that how he always looked to me.