Monica Pelayo


Bracero Oral History

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

Roberto Oceguera Licea was born on October 6, 1935 in Yurécuaro, Michoacán, Mexico; he was one of ten children; he was formally educated through the sixth grade; his father was a foreman for the railroad in Michoacán; his mother was a housewife; as a young boy, he was sent to live with his aunt and uncle, in Dunsmuir, California; his uncle also worked as a foreman for the railroad; in 1955, he became a bracero and remained working as such until 1959; as a bracero he worked in Newman, Imperial Valley, Stockton, Geyserville, and Salinas, California; at the time of the interview, Mr. Roberto Oceguera Licea was living in Mexicali, Mexico.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Oceguera Licea briefly recalls his hometown; he moved to Calexico where he heard about the bracero program; in 1955, he traveled to the processing center in Empalme, Sonora, Mexico; his first contract was in Newman, California where he labored in the melon fields; he briefly discusses and compares the camp size, living conditions and provisions at El Centro, California and Newman, California; he worked in the tomato fields of Imperial Valley, California; he labored in the asparagus fields in Stockton, California; he labored in the grape and pear orchards of Geyserville, California; Mr. Oceguera Licea mentions that many braceros would drink, gamble and play billiard on the weekends; he mentions the dance halls in Salinas, California; while attempting to defuse an altercation between two other individuals, he was stabbed in the throat, close to the jugular vein; he briefly discusses altercations between Navy sailors and braceros in San Francisco, California; he mentions working with Anglo, African-American, and Asians; in 1959, he completed his last contract; he worked for David Garcia; he briefly gives his opinion on the topics of marriage and children; in 1960, he met his common-law wife; they had five children; after his last contract, he returned to Mexicali, Mexico, where he worked as a police officer.

Date of Interview


Length of Interview

32 minutes

Tape Number

No. 1308

Transcript Number

No. 1308

Length of Transcript

29 pages

Interview Number

No. 1308

Terms of Use



Interview in Spanish.