Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Pablo C. Flores was born on June 26, 1929, in Sáric, Sonora, México; his parents worked in agriculture; when he was roughly eight years old, his father died, which left his mother to raise nine children alone; he began working on ranches when he was fourteen, in order to help support his family.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Flores briefly describes his family and the difficulties he faced during childhood and adolescence; in 1948, he went through the contracting center in Empalme, Sonora, México, in order to enlist in the bracero program; in the hopes of obtaining subsequent contracts he often went through Empalme; there were usually thousands of men in line at the center; he stayed there anywhere from a few days to over a month, which made it extremely difficult to wait, because he did not have any money for food; moreover, there were soldiers at the center to help keep order, and they often mistreated the men; some even died; from there, he was transported to Mexicali, Baja California, and then to El Centro, California, where he was examined and fumigated; as a bracero, he worked primarily in California picking beets, lettuce, and tomatoes; he mentions that wherever he went, he never earned very much money; in Yuma, Arizona, the food and housing was so bad that he returned the contract before the day was over; he goes on to detail the various places he worked, his duties, daily routines, provisions, housing, payment, remittances, and recreational activities; in addition, he recalls one instance when a representative from the Mexican consul went to the camp, but he only spoke to the boss; for a brief time he worked illegally in the United States, but in 1960, he was able to arrange for legal status; he comments that he has better memories of having worked illegally than as a bracero; his recollections of working as a bracero involve hard work and suffering; more specifically, he mentions the compensatory money that is still owed to the braceros.
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Interview with Pablo C. Flores by Alejandra Díaz, 2008, "Interview no. 1343," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.
Interview in Spanish.