Park name strikes sore spot in border town

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Posted: Sunday, July 13, 2014 9:30 pm | Updated: 5:54 pm, Mon Jul 14, 2014.

Hollywood portrayed Bonnie and Clyde as glamorous, misunderstood killers. Tabloids treated mob boss John Gotti as a celebrity.

Richard Dean says the state of New Mexico did something even worse by elevating Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa from international terrorist to folk hero.

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  • El Cie Vigil posted at 5:45 pm on Mon, Jul 14, 2014.

    El Cie Vigil Posts: 10

    Seems to me that Congress has more pressing issues to worry about!

  • James Wilson posted at 4:37 pm on Mon, Jul 14, 2014.

    Thank you Masked Man Posts: 22

    What should stop today is the insatiable desire to feel better about yourself by banning all non-happy words and thoughts, as if the animus is destroyed when a name or word is forbidden. Some people apparently think skinheads would have their tattoos removed, grow their hair, and enroll in college courses, if we banned "the N word", etc. It would be funny, if it wasn't so plainly ignorant.

  • James Wilson posted at 3:38 pm on Mon, Jul 14, 2014.

    Thank you Masked Man Posts: 22

    "Pancho Villa is not a terrorist to all of us." OK, explain the benevolence of the attacks, the murders, and the arson he certainly committed.

  • Peter Romero posted at 3:33 pm on Mon, Jul 14, 2014.

    roromero Posts: 13

    I think all history should stop today, will that stop all the issues ? I think not.

    A country that doesn't remember its past will have no future. Abraham Lincoln.

  • Ginny Vigil posted at 2:29 pm on Mon, Jul 14, 2014.

    GVigil Posts: 14


  • nonesuch posted at 11:52 am on Mon, Jul 14, 2014.

    nonesuch Posts: 2

    I like that park. Great pictures preserving a time in history -- the only attack on the continental United States before 9/11. I never thought the name was to HONOR Pancho Villa. I thought it was because he was the invader and that's what the park is about -- the invasion. But best of luck to all name changers!

  • Jake Arnold posted at 11:25 am on Mon, Jul 14, 2014.

    jakechileverde Posts: 11

    Not so fast.

    Before Pancho Villa State Park is renamed, the United States should apolgize for the 1914 (two years before the Columbus Raid) invasion and occupation of the Mexican port of Verz Cruz by U.S. Army and Marine Corp troops supported by a U.S. Navy flotilla.

    Mexican resistence to that jingoistic adventure--an act of war by the U.S., which had been meddling and deviously switching sides back and forth in the Mexican Revolution--resulted in the deaths of at least 150 Mexican soldiers and scores of innocent Mexican civilians at the hands of U.S. forces (who suffered relatively minimal casualties).

    Also, the state historians have it wrong regarding the 1916 "invasion" ("raid" is the better term) of U.S. soil by Pancho Villa being the first since the War of 1812 and the last.

    In 1911 Mexican revolutionary forces crossed the border in what is now Big Bend National Park in Texas and fought a pitched battle with American troops (won by the Mexicans) at the mining town of Terlingua.

    Also in the Big Bend country, several weeks after the Columbus Raid, Mexican troops crossed the border and fought the U.S. Army at Glenn Springs and Boquillas in Texas (across the Rio Grande from what is today the Mexican village of Boquillas del Carmen) winning the battles.

    The Glenn Springs/Boquillas incidents were just as much factors in Woodrow Wilson's decision to launch the failed Pershing Expedition, as Villa's Raid, which was neither the "first" nor the "last" so-called invasion of U.S. territory.

  • Steve Salazar posted at 11:03 am on Mon, Jul 14, 2014.

    Steve Salazar Posts: 872

    One might think that getting rid of the name Columbus would have a higher priority.

  • Santa Fe Ranger posted at 10:11 am on Mon, Jul 14, 2014.

    Santa Fe Ranger Posts: 5

    I do think Richard Dean has a very legitimate argument. It does appear to be a slap in the face to the American soldiers and civilians who lost their lives in the attack. If the US believed it appropriate to send General Pershing into Mexico in pursuit of Villa, then why are we celebrating the enemy by naming a state park after him ??

  • Ronald Ortiz posted at 8:42 am on Mon, Jul 14, 2014.

    RonnieO Posts: 16

    Gen Pershing was an American hero, My Great Grandfather chased Pancho Villa back into Mexico, he used to come over here and raid his own people trying to make it here in the United States, In my mind he is no less then the "Coyote" traffickers that exploit immigrants trying to make it to the United States.
    I am appalled that the New Mexican has not done it's due diligence researching the facts that Pancho Villa was in fact financed and guided by the Kaiser and the Prussian Imperialists.
    For the Honor of the 26 civilians killed in Columbus that day and the 13th Calvary that was attacked, I believe there is merit to this plight Richard Dean is pursuing, he was one of the 1st American sponsored Separatists that changed alliance after Villa had fallen out with Carranza and Obregón. Research, this you'll find more accurate accounting of who and what Pancho Villa really was.

  • New Mexican posted at 7:58 am on Mon, Jul 14, 2014.

    New Mexican Posts: 11

    Personally I like the name. The park is not much as NM State Parks go. Rename it and that will be the end of the park and whatever visitors it generates for Deming. Gen. John “Black Jack” Pershing State Park just does not have the same ring to it. The fact that we as a state have a connection to Pancho Villa is something to celebrate. And while he may be a terrorist to Mr. Dean, Pancho Villa is not a terrorist to all of us. I think Mr. Dean saw an opening because of the Kit Carson thing at Taos. My advice is let it remain the way it is, same for Kit Carson Park.


Behind the beat

Milan Simonich has worked on daily newspapers for 35 years. He grew up in Pueblo, Colo., becoming a reporter and then city editor of his hometown paper, the Pueblo Chieftain.

He went on to work for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Denver Post and other publications. He arrived in New Mexico as Santa Fe bureau chief for a chain of eight publications called Texas-New Mexico Newspapers.

Now he is part of the team covering government, politics and other stories for the New Mexican. He graduated from the University of Northern Colorado.

Milan can be reached at msimonich@sfnewmexican.com. His direct line is 505-986-3080. Follow him on Twitter @MilansNMreport.

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