Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Pedro L. Lechuga was born May 19, 1933, in Namiquipa, Chihuahua, México; he had six siblings, three of whom passed away; his parents were agriculturalists; he was formally educated through the sixth grade; in 1952, he decided to enlist in the bracero program; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico and Texas cleaning, pruning and picking beets, cotton, cucumber and green beans until 1958; he later immigrated to the United States.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Lechuga briefly mentions his family; he recalls hearing rumors about men earning a lot of money in the United States; in 1952, he decided to enlist in the bracero program; although his wife was against it, she knew he had to leave; he went through the center in Chihuahua, México, and he describes the necessary documents and medical exams he underwent; when crossing the border in El Paso, Texas, he endured further assessments; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico and Texas cleaning, pruning and picking beets, cotton, cucumber and green beans until 1958; he goes on to detail the various worksites, camp sizes, housing, living conditions, provisions, duties, routines, treatment, payments, contract lengths and renewals, friendships, correspondence and recreational activities; in addition, he explains that while in Minnesota, the men were cheated; they were usually paid by the acre, but they were actually picking much more than that; their measurements showed they picked twenty acres but were only paid for fifteen; they complained and were ultimately able to remedy the situation; he also mentions that working in the beet fields was especially difficult and grueling; in 1958, his last contract took him to Pecos, Texas, where he only stayed for fifteen days, because the conditions were so poor; he later immigrated to the United States; overall, he still has positive memories of the program.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Pedro L. Lechuga by Ivonne Méndez, 2008, "Interview no. 1351," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.