Monday, December 09, 2013

we don't need another hero


My Mexican history is rather good.  Not as strong as my Mexican historiography.  But, still, rather good.

Whenever I think I have my dates and myths in some sort of order, up pops a conundrum.  And it almost always arises out of the Mexican Revolution. 

As complicated as the personalities of the War of Independence can be, the names of the participants in the Revolution can be more complex than trying to following the list of characters in a Solzhenitsyn novel.

And for good reason.  The tangle of Mexican alliances and betrayals during the years following 1910 make the politics of Byzantium look like a church picnic.  Presidents came and went as fast as Liz Taylor's husbands.

Once you corral the names, an additional complication arises.  Because it was within the age of photography, almost ever Mexican leader was captured repeatedly on film before he was captured and shot by a firing squad or assassin.

Now, almost every American can identify photographs or paintings of the American presidents.  Of course, there is that odd period in the late 19th century when a wit could slip in a photograph of Smith Brothers and claim that they are Rutherford B. Hayes and Benjamin Harrison.

I recognize a lot of the Mexican heroes of the revolution in photographs.  But, now and then, one shows up that baffles me.

Take the photograph at the top of this post.  It hangs in the men's bathroom of Rooster's restaurant in Melaque.

The face is familiar, but my memory attaches no name.  It hangs with a series of Pancho Villa shots.  But that may be misleading.

He looks a bit like like Teddy Roosevelt after a stint with Jenny Craig.  Some see a General Stilwell resemblance.  A Google search results in nada.

But, whoever he is, he is all Mexican.  At least, I think he is.

I know that some of you are well-versed in Mexican history.  Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to let the rest of us know who the mystery man is.

Any takers?


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