Pancho Villa's Ride

Pancho Villa, so the saying goes, was "hated by thousands and loved by millions." He was a Robin Hood to many and a hero of the Mexican Revolution. Doroteo Arango, Pancho Villa’s real name, was born in the state of Durango in 1878, a share-cropper peasant on a hacienda. According to the legend, one day when he was sixteen, he returned home from the fields to find that his sister had been raped by the owner of the hacienda, Don Agustin. Doroteo took up his revolver, shot Don Agustin, and escaped into the mountains on a horse and assumed an alias.

Why did Pancho ride? Because there was no other hope of justice for his sister’s attacker. In the years to come millions followed because there was no hope for them either. Under Porfirio Diaz, the dictator who ruled Mexico from 1884-1911,[this may sound familiar] large landowning ricos, the church, and American industrial corporations enjoyed unfettered access to Mexico's wealth of natural resources. By 1910, American corporations had invested over $10 billion in Mexico's mining and other extractive industries. Very little of this wealth ‘trickled down’ to the landless peasants.

In 1910, when the Mexican Revolution broke out, Villa put together an army of armed cowboys and ruffians and became the revolutionary general who led the war in the northern part of Mexico. His charisma and victories made him an idol of the masses.

Unfortunately, their victories were short lived, the landowners quickly regrouped and re-took control in the choas that followed. That same battle for access to resources is at the roots of the dirty little war Mexico is waging against the Zapatistas in Chiapas to this very day. The Zapatistas, are led by a 21st century Robin Hood role model, Sub-Commandante Marcos. Together with Hugo Chavez of Venezula, Evo Morelais in Bolivia, our old friend Fidel, and others the light still shines in Latin America. 'The good fight' against the ricos for land reform, enviormental regulations and access to recources continues.

"Drink, but never get drunk. And steal, but only from the rich." Francisco 'Pancho' Villa.

by Bob Wiley