June 5, 2009
PANCHO VILLA (born Doroteo Aranga Arámbula; 1878-1923) was an outlaw with a world-class strategic intelligence who became a general during the chaotic and unending Mexican Revolution. John Reed was present in the Governor’s palace in Chihuahua when Villa was honored by the elegantly turned-out officers of his artillery corps: “He was dressed in an old plain khaki uniform, with several buttons lacking. He hadn’t recently shaved, wore no hat, and his hair had not been brushed.” He slouched on the throne during the speeches, “his mouth hanging open, his little shrewd eyes playing around the room.” When they gave him the medal, he peered at it and said, “This is a hell of a little thing to give a man for all that heroism you are talking about!” Then he spat violently on the floor. (Insurgent Mexico, 1914) Actors who have portrayed Villa include Wallace Beery, Leo Carillo, Alan Reed, Yul Brynner, Telly Savalas, and Freddy Fender.
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