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The last Dorado

10 April 2012

As far as I can tell, Capitan Guillermo Flores Reyes is still living in Ecatepec, Mexico State.  As the the last surviving officer of Pancho Villa’s Dorados and the oldest man in Mexico (born 25 July 1898 in Amanalisco, Jalisco), his death would be national news.  In December 2009, when he was the subject of an El Universal article, he was a perennial bachelor living independently in Ecatepec.

There were some very young soldiers in Villa’s army.  Don Guillermo was only twelve years old when, mistaking the sounds of battle for fireworks, and assuming there was a fiesta somewhere, wandered into the May 13-15 Battle for Torreón.  Mistaken for a spy, he was taken before Villa, who remarked to Rodolfo Fierro that the boy had eyes like a cat — he didn’t miss a thing.  Guillermo Flores Reyes would stay with Villa until the end of the Revolution.

He also met Zapata. In this iconic photo (taken 16 December 1914) the sixteen year old Guillermo on the far right in the hat, standing next to the guy with the bandaged head.

Interviewed by Jaquelin Coatecatl  of La Razon (published 20 November 2010) Flores recalled his military service as a time of “…llenos de piojos, y los pelos los teníamos como el pedorro del puerco: parados de puras liendres. Andábamos mal vestidos y hambreados” — which sounds rather poetic if you don’t know Spanish, but translates as “… we had lice in our hair and smelled smelled worse than pig-farts:  lousy, poorly clothed and hungry”.

Still, he preferrered the mí general Villa  — “one smart motherfucker, with the brains and power to control 50,000 men and screw around those gringo mothers up there in Columbus” — to today’s leaders:  “lizards in suits,”without the sense of justice he felt motivated his own comrades.

One small injustice of the Revolution still rankles him:  his promotion to Colonel (very late in the Revolution, and was never officially recognized.

A new generation of Mexicans meets with the old revolutionary in this short video from Proyecto Trotamundos:

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