The difference between the two armies was great. Witnesses said that while Zapata’s humble troops begged for food in Mexico City, Villa’s went on a drunken spree, raping, pillaging.
The Mexican Revolution of 1910 gave Pancho Villa the opportunity to get involved in a cause and make his countrymen forget that he was a bandit. He and his band of outlaws joined the rebels in the first year of the fighting. At the age of 22, he was appointed a captain. The dictator of Mexico at the time was Porfirio Diaz, who had ruled with an iron fist since the death of the legendary Benito Juarez, in 1872. Diaz’s slogan was “Bread and the Club.” Bread for the elite; bread for the army; bread for the bureaucrats; bread for the foreigners; and even bread for the Church—and a club for the common folk and those who chose to differ with him, was efficiently wielded by the ruthless Ruales, Diaz’s’ personal police. His rule by force made him the most efficient despot to rule in this part of the world. Haciendas were like feudal estates; and elegant monuments to the rich were everywhere as aristocracy was in full bloom!
Most of the revolutionaries fought to free Mexico from the dictator Diaz and create a democracy. At first, Villa was in the fight only for personal profit. Later, he became a True Believer in the rebel cause.