Venustiano Machado

Interview in Spanish.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Machado talks about his family and the death of his father when he was a boy; by the time he was fifteen, he was working in the United States; during the early 1950s, he put himself on the list of available workers in Sinaloa, México; he describes the necessary requirements and process he underwent; moreover, he explains that he had to pay ten pesos for someone to fill out the papers, because he was illiterate; once he crossed into the United States, he was stripped and medically examined; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of Santa Ana, California, picking asparagus, green beans, strawberries and tomatoes; he goes on to detail camp sizes, housing, accommodations, living conditions, provisions, duties, routines, payments, deductions, remittances, contract lengths and renewals, friendships, correspondence and recreational activities, including trips into town; furthermore, he chronicles having to work seven days a week, thirteen to fourteen hours a day, when picking asparagus and strawberries so they would not spoil; despite the grueling work, he stayed with the same employer for seven years under the program and for an additional three years after obtaining his visa; he eventually married and raised a family of four; upon final reflection, he is proud to have been a bracero, because it changed his life and gave him more opportunities.