Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Mr. Soberano was born in 1940, in Centla, Tabasco, Mexico; he was the next to the youngest of eight children; his father was a rancher who taught him his trade; Mr. Soberano talks about working with livestock whiled growing up; he was formally educated through the second grade; he became a bracero in 1959; he worked picking cotton and caring for livestock in El Centro, California; later he worked in the lettuce fields in Colorado, Texas; he also worked picking pears in Yuba City, California; his last bracero contract was in 1962; upon returning to Tabasco, Mexico, he married and had seven children.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Soberano talks about helping his father with the livestock at a very young age; in 1959, at the age of nineteen, he went through the hiring process to become a bracero; as part of the process, he was medically examined and deloused; in addition, he talks about the embarrassment he endured during the examination; he traveled to Mexico City, Mexico and then to the processing center in Empalme, Sonora, Mexico; his first contract was in El Centro, California working in the cotton fields; he recalls the working conditions while caring for livestock in El Centro, California; Mr. Soberano recalls that when his first contract ended the braceros were sent to Mexicali, Mexico where they had an unpleasant experience with a “pollero” who asked them for money to contract them; the braceros never saw or heard from the “pollero” again; he recalls that while waiting for the second contract in Emalme, Sonora, Mexico, he and approximately sixty thousand workers labored in the cabbage and tomato fields for one month without pay; he details the harsh conditions he and other men endured while waiting there; he completed his last contract in 1962 and returned to live in Tabasco, Mexico.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Jesús Soberano Rodríguez by Mireya Loza, 2007, "Interview no. 1396," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.