Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Ramon Flores Gonzales was born in Juquillo, Jaliso México, on July 10, 1935; he grew up in an agricultural family with four brothers and two sisters; from age five he worked in agriculture; he joined the bracero program in 1956, and worked in California until 1960; there her picked carrots, cotton, and watermelon.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Flores Gonzales remembers growing up in Juquillo, Jalisco, México, and having to work from the age of five; he recalls hearing about the bracero program from his brother who worked in Blythe, California; in 1956, he joined the bracero program and worked in California until 1960 picking carrots, cotton, and watermelon; he relates what it was like to be contracted in Empalme, Sonora, México, the process they went through, the papers he needed, and the brief medical exams they received; furthermore, he describes his bus ride to Mexicali, Baja California, México, and how the contracts were created in El Centro, California; he continues to describe his work at the Imperial Valle in California, the pay he received, their daily schedule, and difficulty of the work; moreover, he recounts how they did not have electricity in their barracks, nor bathrooms; he also explains how he asked to be moved to Blythe, California so he could be closer to his brother, and how hard it was to get the move; additionally, he discusses that he sent money to his family in México, and that he was very proud that he could help them in that way; he learned to read and write as a bracero, and later was able to secure his residency; overall, he feels that the bracero program made him suffer many injustices, but that he is happy to have been able to better his life and the lives of his family.
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Interview with Ramon Flores Gonzales by Anais Acosta, 2006, "Interview no. 1189," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.