Notwithstanding Zapatismo’s recent revival, no Mexican, past or present, has greater name recognition, inside or outside Mexico, than Pancho Villa. Ask workaday Mexicans about this charismatic leader and erstwhile friend of the poor and they may relive Pancho’s daring exploits, perhaps lapsing into nostalgic corridos about his stirring victories at Torreón and Zacatecas. Of late, Villa has even undergone a renaissance of sorts, becoming the object of venerated spiritual cults in northern Mexico. For their part, PRIista apologists prefer to consign the Centaur of the North to a decidedly secondary role in the Revolution’s pantheon of heroes, portraying him as a destroyer, a common vaquero and bandit, who capriciously took advantage of a chaotic time by ruthlessly catapulting himself into a position of power. As a result, until recently, few statues and monuments have been erected in Villa’s memory by the PRI establishment. North...

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