Mariano Resendéz




According to scholars, “Mariano Resendez” represents the first of the contraband corridos. This pre-revolutionary corrido deals with many of the social issues that also faced heroes such as Heraclio Bernal and Gregorio Cortez. The government of Porfirio Diaz taxed as much as 300% of incoming fine cloths. For this reason, smuggling these materials into Mexico from the U.S. became a very lucrative business. Mariano Resendez is most remembered for heading a large-scale textile smuggling operation. Resendez was often accompanied by up to one hundred armed accomplices. When bribery and intimidation failed to persuade customs officials to overlook the contraband he carried, he was more than willing to engage in gun battles. His blatant defiance of the Diaz government was not only restricted to the smuggling of goods across the border, but he also, as evidence suggests, supplied arms to local resistance leaders. Eventually his acts of rebellion caught up to him. Resendez was finally brought down during a surprised attack on his hideout at the El Charco Ranch by one of Porfirio Diaz’s trusted officers, Nieves Hernandez. It is believed that he was shot while trying to escape, and thus, never faced charges. Mariano Resendez, unlike many protoganists of the narcocorridos, is celebrated as both a hero of intercultural conflict and a social bandit in so much as his illegal acts aided citizens who could not afford to purchase various imported goods due to price inflation at the hands of Porfirio Diaz.




Ano de mil novecientos
Dejó recuerdos muy grandes,
Murió Mariano Reséndez,
Lo aprehendió Nieves Hernandez.

Le iban a quebrar la puerta
Cuando llegó el otro hermano,
Con ansia le preguntaban:
-Donde se halla don Mariano?-

José María Reséndez,
Su contestación fue Buena:
-Senores, yo no sé nada,
yo vengo de Santa Elena-

El carro “onde” iba Mariano,
Iba rodeado de lanzas,
Decía Mariano Reséndez:
-No pierdo las experanzas.-

Como le tuvieron miedo
Que recibiera algún cargo,
Lo mataron entremedio
De Agualeguas y Cerralvo.

Empleaditos de Guerrero
A todos los llevo en lista,
Ya no morirán de susto,
Ya murió “El Contrabandista”.

Ya con ésta me despido
Contrando una flor de mayo,
Aquí se acaban, los versos
De don Mariano.

The year of nineteen hundred
Left many fond memories,
Mariano Reséndez was killed,
He was captured by Nieves Hernández.

They were going to break down the door
When Mariano’s other brother arrived,
With great anxiety they asked him:
“Where is Don Mariano?”

Jose Maria Reséndez,
His answer was very good:
“Gentlemen, I know nothing,
I’ve just come from Santa Helena.”

The cart in which Mariano was riding
Was surrounded by picked men,
Mariano Reséndez was saying:
“I’m not going to lose hope.”

Because they were afraid of him,
Because they were afraid he might be giving some office,
They killed him on the road.
Between Agualeguas and Cerralvo

You policemen of Guerrero [Tamps.]
I have you all on my list:
You will no longer die of fright
Because the Smuggler is dead.

Now with this I bid farewell,
Plucking a May flower,
Here ends the singing of the stanzas
About Don Mariano.


“Mariano Resendez” belongs to the heroic subgenre of contraband corridos.  As such, Resendez is portrayed in a very positive light and is celebrated as a social bandit similar to that of Heraclio Bernal (who became a legend for robbing the Anglo owners of gold mines during the intercultural conflict era).  Since many Mexicans had very anti-Porfirian sentiments, the corrido contains descriptions of cowardly Mexican policemen who hunt for and eventually kill Resendez.  In short, the policemen are insulted, while Mariano is exalted as a hero.  This representation of smugglers and their enemies paves the way for later contraband corridos, even when the illegal goods transition from expensive textiles to narcotics.  

The older and longer version of “Mariano Resendez” contains many speech events by the protagonist (Resendez) and the main antagonist (Nievas Hernandez, the policeman supposedly responsible for the death of Resendez).  The speech event in stanza 22, for example, provides a remark typical of corrido protagonists:  Resendez insults his enemies by likening them to women. 

While the shorter commercial version of “Mariano Resendez” lacks the abundance and emotionality of speech events, it still makes the point that the Mexican patrolmen fear Resendez.  This appears predominately in stanza seven, when the corridista sarcastically tells the policemen they will “no longer die of fright” now that the famed smuggler is dead. 



Nieves Hernandez