Juan Sanchez Abasta


Violeta Mena


Bracero Oral History

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

Juan Sanchez Abasta was born on June 3, 1917, in Villa Ahumada, Chihuahua, México; he had five brothers and three sisters; his father worked as a foreman for the railroads in México; he also worked for the railroads, and because of his experience he went to México, Distrito Federal, to acquire a contract with the Bracero Program in 1942.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Sanchez briefly recalls his childhood and family; his father worked as a foreman for the railroads in México and helped his son gain employment there; Mr. Sánchez had worked on the railroads for sometime before hearing of the Bracero Program; because the program needed experienced railroad workers, he went to México, Distrito Federal, to begin the hiring process; he gives a detailed description of all the medical examination procedures, including vaccinations, delousing, and x-rays; in 1942, his first contract took him to work in California for South Pacific; for his second contract, he only had to get x-rays, and there was no need for vaccinations or delousing; he worked for the North Pacific in North Dakota; in addition, he describes how lottery chips were used to determine which city braceros would work in; he also provides a detailed narration of the long journeys by train from one city to the next; while working as a bracero, he would often write letters for others who could not write; he also describes one corrido that was written and composed while he was in the program.

Date of Interview


Length of Interview

256 minutes

Tape Number

No. 1144

Transcript Number

No. 1144

Length of Transcript

75 pages

Interview Number

No. 1144

Terms of Use



Interview in Spanish.

The additional file below is rather large and may take time to download. Have patience.

1144 Juan Sanchez Abasta 2 of 2.mp3 (79690 kB)
Abasta interview, part 2