Pablo Flores

Interview in Spanish.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Flores briefly describes his family and the difficulties he faced during childhood and adolescence; in 1948, he went through the contracting center in Empalme, Sonora, México, in order to enlist in the bracero program; in the hopes of obtaining subsequent contracts he often went through Empalme; there were usually thousands of men in line at the center; he stayed there anywhere from a few days to over a month, which made it extremely difficult to wait, because he did not have any money for food; moreover, there were soldiers at the center to help keep order, and they often mistreated the men; some even died; from there, he was transported to Mexicali, Baja California, and then to El Centro, California, where he was examined and fumigated; as a bracero, he worked primarily in California picking beets, lettuce, and tomatoes; he mentions that wherever he went, he never earned very much money; in Yuma, Arizona, the food and housing was so bad that he returned the contract before the day was over; he goes on to detail the various places he worked, his duties, daily routines, provisions, housing, payment, remittances, and recreational activities; in addition, he recalls one instance when a representative from the Mexican consul went to the camp, but he only spoke to the boss; for a brief time he worked illegally in the United States, but in 1960, he was able to arrange for legal status; he comments that he has better memories of having worked illegally than as a bracero; his recollections of working as a bracero involve hard work and suffering; more specifically, he mentions the compensatory money that is still owed to the braceros.