Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Evangelina Basua was born on a small ranch in Sinaloa, México, in 1948; she had three sisters and two brothers; her parents worked in agriculture, which she helped them with by the time she was roughly six years old; she was formally educated through the third grade; when she was sixteen, she married Virgen Beltrán Ochoa, who later served in the bracero program; consequently, her brother, brother-in-law, and cousin were also braceros.
Summary of Interview
Ms. Basua describes her family and what her life was like growing up; when she was young, her brother José worked as a bracero, and he often brought her dolls from the United States; she goes on to discuss the circumstances surrounding her marriage to Virgen Beltrán Ochoa, when she was sixteen; they heard about the bracero program on the radio, and he went to Empalme, Sonora, México to enlist; as a bracero, he worked in Arizona and California picking cotton and cutting lettuce; his hands were ruined, especially because of all the thorns in the cotton; he was usually gone for three to six months at a time; while away, he lived in metal barracks with many other men, and he made his own food; his favorite place to work was in Indio, California, and his least favorite was Yuma, Arizona, because it was always so hot; instead of sending letters, he would often send money to his family through someone else who was going back to Mexico; when he returned he would bring his wife different types of cloth for her to make clothing; when he was gone, she would wash and iron clothes to help support her family; it was very hard for her and her children; she and three other women, whose husbands were also braceros, would help each other, and together they would count the days until their husbands’ return; after the program ended, Virgen worked the land, and he also bought and sold cattle; Evangelina also describes how her husband died while in Durango, Mexico; she later emigrated to the United States with her children, and she ultimately became a citizen
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Evangelina Basua by Alejandra Díaz, 2003, "Interview no. 1334," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.