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.
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Interview with Jesús Soberano Rodríguez by Mireya Loza, 2007, "Interview no. 1396," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.
Interview in Spanish.