Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Imelda Díaz Pacheco was born on January 20, 1940, in San Pedro Ixtlahuaca, Oaxaca, México; she was the eldest of her three sisters and three brothers; her father worked in the mountains chopping wood; she was formally educated through the third grade; in 1955, at the age of fifteen, she married Ausencio Medina López; they went on to have eleven children, two of whom passed away; Ausencio served in the bracero program from 1956 to 1961; he later died on March 28, 1994.
Summary of Interview
Ms. Díaz briefly describes her family; in 1955, at the age of fifteen, she married Ausencio Medina López; she talks about Ausencio and how during their courtship they did not actually speak to each other; everything took place through their parents; after they married, they went to live with his parents; she stayed at home with her mother-in-law to attend to the household chores, and he worked with his father in the fields; a year later, economic necessity drove Ausencio to enlist in the bracero program at the request of his wife and father; he served in the bracero program from 1956 to 1961; Imelda explains that letters took roughly one month to arrive; Ausencio sent what little money he could, and his father saved as much as he could in the hope of buying land; with Ausencio gone, everyone had more responsibilities; Imelda had to learn how to help her father-in-law work in the fields; she also mentions that she did not have any friends, because her in-laws did not approve; her mother-in-law would go into town to sell the tortillas they made while she stayed home to finish chores; when Ausencio finally did return home, they were all very happy, and he even brought gifts of clothing; he ultimately stopped working as a bracero, because his father was too tired to continue laboring in the fields; Imelda went on to have eleven children, two of whom passed away; Ausencio later died on March 28, 1994; in the early 2000s she began fighting for bracero compensation as his widow; consequently, she traveled throughout México as a result of her efforts.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
GMR Transcription Services
Interview with Imelda Díaz Pacheco by Mireya Loza, 2008, "Interview no. 1433," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.