Monica Pelayo


Bracero Oral History

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

Roberto Oceguera Licea was born on October 6, 1935 in Yurécuaro, Michoacán, Mexico; he was one of ten children; he was formally educated through the sixth grade; his father was a foreman for the railroad in Michoacán; his mother was a housewife; as a young boy, he was sent to live with his aunt and uncle, in Dunsmuir, California; his uncle also worked as a foreman for the railroad; in 1955, he became a bracero and remained working as such until 1959; as a bracero he worked in Newman, Imperial Valley, Stockton, Geyserville, and Salinas, California; at the time of the interview, Mr. Roberto Oceguera Licea was living in Mexicali, Mexico.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Oceguera Licea briefly recalls his hometown; he moved to Calexico where he heard about the bracero program; in 1955, he traveled to the processing center in Empalme, Sonora, Mexico; his first contract was in Newman, California where he labored in the melon fields; he briefly discusses and compares the camp size, living conditions and provisions at El Centro, California and Newman, California; he worked in the tomato fields of Imperial Valley, California; he labored in the asparagus fields in Stockton, California; he labored in the grape and pear orchards of Geyserville, California; Mr. Oceguera Licea mentions that many braceros would drink, gamble and play billiard on the weekends; he mentions the dance halls in Salinas, California; while attempting to defuse an altercation between two other individuals, he was stabbed in the throat, close to the jugular vein; he briefly discusses altercations between Navy sailors and braceros in San Francisco, California; he mentions working with Anglo, African-American, and Asians; in 1959, he completed his last contract; he worked for David Garcia; he briefly gives his opinion on the topics of marriage and children; in 1960, he met his common-law wife; they had five children; after his last contract, he returned to Mexicali, Mexico, where he worked as a police officer.

Date of Interview


Length of Interview

32 minutes

Listen to the Interview

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Tape Number

No. 1308

Transcript Number

No. 1308

Length of Transcript

29 pages

Interview Number

No. 1308

Terms of Use



Interview in Spanish.