Bracero Oral History Project
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Augustin Diaz Roldan was born in Mexico City, Mexico in 1932; he explains that he owned and operated a meat market but left as a bracero because he was told he would not, he was contracted in Chihuahua and worked in Las Cruces, New Mexico picking cotton.
Summary of Interview
He states that he rotated working in Imperial Valley, Phoenix, Arizona, and Salinas, California from 1954-1960, renewing his contract eighteen months at a time with the same farm company, he picked cotton, lettuce, tomatoes, chilly, asparagus, and strawberries; he also worked as a cook for the farmers, he remembers men were given three meals with lunch being delivered to the fields, they were charged $1.75 a day for all three meals, he would work seven days a week; he recalls in detail the procedure he went through to become a bracero; he used oil and dirt to make his hands look rough, during his health check they were examined and disinfected, it took him three days to get a contract and he had to rent a hotel; he explains that for fun men would play sports, go to the bar or movies, and that prostitution was everywhere, and that women would even go to the barracks; he also details how men got food poisoning from a can of chilies that had been dented open; additionally he recalls an accident that occurred that killed seventeen braceros burning them unrecognizable and injured many others; he concludes by explaining that he was not aware of the ten percent deduction, he holds Mexico responsible, and he has filled out his paperwork; to him a bracero is not an immigrant but help, help that the United States still needs.
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Mayra L. Avila
Interview with Agustin Diaz Roldan by Alma Carrillo, 2008, "Interview no. 1600," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.