Several people have asked “who is Balo,” the main character in my novel “Balo’s War. Funny they should ask.
The name was an attempt to align the character with Basilio Ramos who was a signer of the Plan of San Diego and who was arrested with the Plan in his possession. His arrest made the Plan known to the public. Since my lead character was going be caught with the Plan, in place of Basilio Ramos, I sought to come up with a name with the same initials and settled on Baldomero Reyna, or Balo for short.
In fact, I have a brother who we call Balo, that’s him in the picture with a very young yours truly. In the interest of full dsclosure, there we are in a more recent picture. My maternal grandmother, Lucinda Molina Esparza, was a midwife and delivered my nine siblings. She was too old by the time I came around. When my brother was born, my Father Servando Cardenas wanted to name him Baldomero, after an uncle of his. Grandmother sent her son Ismael Esparza to record the birth at the courthouse. Well, my uncle Ismael thought the baby should be named after his uncle Eduardo Esparza so he recorded my brother as Eduardo Cardenas. That did not keep my father from calling him Baldomero or “Balo”, which he did all his life. All of us siblings also called him Balo and do so to this day.
The funny thing is that is not the only curious aspect of the name of Balo. When I interviewed Basilio Ramos Jr.’s family I came to find out the his nickname was you guessed it “Balo”. I’m not sure how you get Balo from Basilio but they did. This was quite a coincidence for I had already completed my novel and had given it the name “Balo’s War”.
But, no the caharacter was not named for Basilio Ramos; the character of Balo is not Basilio Ramos. Balo was 39 and born in Linares, while Basilio was 24 and born in Nuevo Laredo. There are many other distinguishing facts. For one thing, Ramos never participated in any of the attacks credited to the sediciosos. While Balo was caught with the plan as was Ramos, that is where the commonality ends. Aniceto Pizana, one of the leaders of the revolutionaries also contributed to Balo’s character, as did my father and I too provided aspects of the character.
Balo, it seems, was predestined to be the lead character in this novel.