Los Tequileros





With the implementation of the Prohibition Act of 1919 in the United States, the nature of smuggling changed dramatically. Smuggling American goods into Mexico was replaced by the smuggling of alcohol into the United States. This became an extremely popular money-making enterprise. The smugglers of hard alcohol from Mexico to the U.S. became knows as “los tequileros”. Unlike massive flocks of men that rode with Mariano Resendez, the tequileros usually traveled in groups of three or four. On the Mexican side of the border, guards allowed the passing of these smugglers due to their disrespect of Anglo law. While America had border restrictions in place, these regulations were often disregarded due to a lack of river guards to enforce these laws. Leftover feelings from the previous period of intercultural conflict contributed to Mexicans association of resentment toward the “rinches” or Texas Rangers with resentment toward the border patrolmen. Therefore, the smugglers, as well as the general population of Mexico, regarded smuggling alcohol into America and fighting the rinches as a respectable and honorable act of courage. According to Paredes, this corrido emphasizes the tequileros battle with the rinches as opposed to the actual smuggling of contraband. This attributes an image to the tequileros not of criminals, but instead of heroes of intercultural conflict.





El día de noviembre,
Qué día tan senalado!
Mataron tres de Guerrero
Estos rinches desdichados.

Salieron desde Guerrero
Con tequila ya anisadao,
el rumbo que ellos llevaban
Era San Diego mentado.

Al llegar al Río Grande
Se pusieron a pensar:
Es bueno llevar a Leandro
Porque “semos” dos nomás.

Le echan el invite a Leandro
Leandro les dijo que no:
Miren que yo estoy enfermo,
Y así no quisiera yo.

Al fin de tanto invitarlo
Leandro los acompanó,
En las Lomas de Almirambo
Fue el primero que murió.

Les dispararon a un tiempo,
lo deben de haber sabido,
Cayó Gerónimo muerto y,
Silvano muy mal herido.

Pues Silvano con dos tiros
Todavía quedó hablando:
Mátenme rinches cobardes,
Ya no me estén preguntando.

El capitán de los rinches
A Silvano se acercó,
En unos cuantos segundos,
Silvano Gracia murió.

Los rinches son muy valientes,
No se les puede quitar,
Los cazan como venados
Para podelos matar.

Ya con ésta ahí me despido
En mi caballo Lucero,
Mataron tres gallos finos,
del pueblito de Guerrero.

On the third day of November,
What a memorable day!
Those despicable rinches (Rangers)
Killed three men from Ciudad Guerrero.

They left from Guerrero
With “gold” tequila,
the direction they were headed
Was towards the well-known town of San Diego (Texas).

When they reached the Rio Grande,
Then they stopped to think:
“We had better take along Leandro,
because there are only two of us.”

They asked Leandro to go with them,
Leandro told them “no:”
“Look at me, I’m sick,
I don’t want to go like this.”

They kept on asking him to go,
Until Leandro went with them,
In the Lomas de Almirambo,
He was the first to die.

The rinches fired a volley at them at once,
They must have known ahead of time,
Gerónimo fell dead and,
Silvano was badly wounded.

Silvano, although hit by two bullets,
Nonetheless continued to speak:
“Go ahead and kill me you cowardly rinches,
just don’t try to ask me any questions!”

The captian of the rinches
came up close to Silvano,
In just a few seconds,
Silvano Gracia was dead.

The rinches are very brave,
There’s no taking that away from them,
They hunt them (Mexicans) down like deer,
Just so they can kill them.

Now with this I bid farewell
Mounted on my horse Lucero,
They killed three brave “roosters,”
from the town of Guerrero.


The protagonists of “Los tequileros” are seen as extensions of the heroes of intercultural conflict.  Likewise, their enemies, the American border patrolmen, still live up to their reputation as “rinches cobardes.”  This epithet stems from the stereotype that the Americans shoot smugglers first and then ask questions later.  In this corrido specifically, the “rinches” sneak up on the tequila runners and kill them like deer, rather than fight them “pecho a pecho.”