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New Revolution discussion group

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  • smokeykoelsch
    Hello, Bryant and other members; I m flattered to have been invited to join this new group. Goodness knows this forum needed a new start, and I hope that I
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 6, 2002
      Hello, Bryant and other members;
      I'm flattered to have been invited to join this new group. Goodness
      knows this forum needed a new start, and I hope that I can add
      something to a meaningful dialogue on the subject at hand.
      Bryant, I have a question to address regarding your recent
      commendable work in translating Dr. Ruben Osorio's interview with
      Francisco Piñon:
      As you might know, I have been busy researching the life of Gral.
      Felipe Angeles, and I was gratified to find certain segments of Sr.
      Piñon's monologue that touched upon him. Odile Guilpain Peuliard,
      in
      her excellent biography of Angeles (publ. in 1991), referred to the
      following source a couple of times in her footnotes:

      R. Osorio, "Conversación con Francisco Piñon", Collección de
      Historia
      Oral de Chihuahua.

      Anyway, the information cited by Guilpain didn't seem to be included
      in the interview you translated (but perhaps I missed it). As an
      example, I'll cite one specific piece of information (Guilpain, p.
      76): This relates to Angeles's transfer from the Sonorans to
      Francisco Villa's Ejército del Norte in early 1914, and Guilpain
      uses
      the Piñon source to point out that Angeles himself may have been
      instrumental in effecting the transfer by contacting the Villa camp.
      There are other sources which corroborate this, but that is not why I
      am making this post. Rather, I am wondering if Dr. Osorio had
      documented other discussions with Piñon besides the one you have
      translated?
      I've been interested in contacting you for some time but I didn't
      have much desire to use the other forum to do it. My experience
      there was that the membership had become too heavily weighted with
      individuals whose purpose was motivated more by emotion than with a
      desire to share a meaningful dialogue, and I had pretty much resigned
      myself to avoidance. I guess that is a polite way to express the
      reasons for my reticence in recent months. Hopefully this forum will
      not become too corrupted too quickly, but it is free, and open to
      everybody so I figure that will be inevitable.
      Nevertheless, thanks for kicking off this new forum, and thanks again
      for inviting me to join.
      John "Smokey" Koelsch
    • E Bryant Holman
      I want to say, for starters, that I appreciate your vote of confidence for my efforts. That other group, in the first place, had a very limited format, which
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 7, 2002
        I want to say, for starters, that I appreciate your vote of confidence for my efforts. That other group, in the first place, had a very limited format, which didn't allow of for the possibility of a decent exchange. And secondly, or perhaps more importantly, I should say, it was not being moderated and it was too easy for persons who would be better off if they kept their opinions to themselves to just turn the discussion into a series of absurdities. I can assure you that I will not allow that to happen here.
         
        If you have read many biographies of Villa, you have probably noted how it is that Dr. Osorio is almost always mentioned quite frequently in the footnotes and the bibiographies, because he enjoys a near monopoly of certain types of information - namely, the complete archives from Canutillo which Piñon gave to Osorio, plus his extensive interviews with villistas, and his long freindship with both Piñon and Doña Luz, which, I would verture to say, is simply unmatched. These persons had singular goal in their lives, which was vindication of Villa from the "calumnias", as they described it - which is to say (as this word has multiple meanings) the slander that he suffered from at the hands of his enemies, who sought to erase, or at least undermine, the tremendous cult of personality that Villa has enjoyed in Mexico for generations now, in spite of such a concerted campaign of defamy and scorn that was heaped on him in school textbooks and writings of all sorts. Popular culture has run completely counter to this, and the corridos of Antonio Aguilar and other popular singers during what I would call the Classic Period of mariachi style ranchera music are testimony to this overrriding element of popular culture which has reflected the popular sentiment that allowed for the very great success of this music. No one would have bought a copy of a corrido about Zapata, because people, frankly, didn't give a flip about him in Mexico, and they still don't. Villa, on the other hand, is seen as a character who is couched in a very mystical sort of role, as a messiah whose legend holds out hope for the liberation of the under classes, and in examining his life, one sees that he very much fit that role, and it is the personal testimonies of those who were close to him, and even those who were periferally involved with him, which have sustained that myth, if you will (and I use the word "myth" not is the sense of a falsehood of some sort, but rather that of a motivating force in society).
         
        I must say that I do not know a lot about Angeles, but I will most definitely direct your questions to Dr. Osorio so that he can clarify those points for you, if he may. I can say one thing in a general sense about Villa and Angeles, which I think came through somewhat in the Piñon interview - not by way of what Osorio believes, but in the sense that one gets clues as to why he has such an opinion: Osorio believes that the notion that Angeles was so greatly responsible for the success of Villa is false. Villa had already won five or six major battles in a row where the odds were against him before Angeles arrived in his camp, and that demonstrates the fact that he was a very capable military leader. Villa did not send cavalry charges into barb wire and machineguns. That is false. He used night attacks, and that is why he almost overwhelmed Obregon at Celaya in spite of the odds being so heavily against him. Some authors have dismissed Villa's accusals that he lost at Celaya because of a series of betrayals as the paranoid fantasies of a man who could not admit that his own hubris and ineptitude had led him to his doom. That is a false conclusion. He was indeed betrayed by the Americans and by Zapata, and by the bungling and profiteering of his brother Hipolito, who bought the wrong caliber ammunition because someone offered him a better price and he intended to keep the change. The Americans dealt him two very heavy blows. The first is that they evacuated Veracruz and left a huge stockpile of arms and ammunition there which was, in effect, a gift to Carranza. Next, they took the troops that had served under Mercado at Ojinaga and they sent them across the border at (I think) Piedras Negras where the carrancistas were waiting to induct them into their forces under the command of Pablo Gonzales, who then served under Obregon at Celaya. Zapata just abandoned Puebla and that allowed Obregon clear sailing to come up on Villa's flank and force him to fight in an unfavorable location.
         
        There was nothing that Angeles or anyone else could have done to overcome these unforseen circumstances, and Villa did his best; and indeed, he probably would have routed Obregon if it were not for the ammunition crisis. Obregon did not rout Villa, however, because he was able to organize and orderly retreat. On a side note, Obregon was not the military genius he is made out to be, either, but that is another matter.
         
        By the way, I have the last copy in existence of Osorio's "Ese Villa desconocido", which is his most complete collection of interviews, published in 1990, with the forward by Katz, and it is indeed fascinating. I finally know, for instance, what happened with Villa's head. More on that in my next installment! Right now I have to go.
         
        Before I do, however, I will mention that in that book, Piñon mentions Angeles and it may be that his words on him are something that has not been touched on. I will look that up for you as soon as I get a chance. And on that, I can say that, yes, Osorio conducted numerous formal interviews with Piñon, and that he was close friends with him for an extended period of time, and that he made it a point to catalog everything that Piñon might have to say about Villa that seemed relevant, either in interviews that were actually recorded, or at least in conversations that Osorio will remember easily enough.
         
        Bryant
         
        ----- Original Message -----
        Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2002 12:37 PM
        Subject: [MexicanRevolution] New Revolution discussion group

        Hello, Bryant and other members;
        I'm flattered to have been invited to join this new group.  Goodness
        knows this forum needed a new start, and I hope that I can add
        something to a meaningful dialogue on the subject at hand.
        Bryant, I have a question to address regarding your recent
        commendable work in translating Dr. Ruben Osorio's interview with
        Francisco Piñon:
        As you might know, I have been busy researching the life of Gral.
        Felipe Angeles, and I was gratified to find certain segments of Sr.
        Piñon's monologue that touched upon him.  Odile Guilpain Peuliard,
        in
        her excellent biography of Angeles (publ. in 1991), referred to the
        following source a couple of times in her footnotes:

        R. Osorio, "Conversación con Francisco Piñon", Collección de
        Historia
        Oral de Chihuahua.

        Anyway, the information cited by Guilpain didn't seem to be included
        in the interview you translated (but perhaps I missed it).  As an
        example, I'll cite one specific piece of information (Guilpain, p.
        76): This relates to Angeles's transfer from the Sonorans to
        Francisco Villa's Ejército del Norte in early 1914, and Guilpain
        uses
        the Piñon source to point out that Angeles himself may have been
        instrumental in effecting the transfer by contacting the Villa camp. 
        There are other sources which corroborate this, but that is not why I
        am making this post.  Rather, I am wondering if Dr. Osorio had
        documented other discussions with Piñon besides the one you have
        translated?
        I've been interested in contacting you for some time but I didn't
        have much desire to use the other forum to do it.  My experience
        there was that the membership had become too heavily weighted with
        individuals whose purpose was motivated more by emotion than with a
        desire to share a meaningful dialogue, and I had pretty much resigned
        myself to avoidance.  I guess that is a polite way to express the
        reasons for my reticence in recent months.  Hopefully this forum will
        not become too corrupted too quickly, but it is free, and open to
        everybody so I figure that will be inevitable. 
        Nevertheless, thanks for kicking off this new forum, and thanks again
        for inviting me to join.
        John "Smokey" Koelsch



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