Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Cirilo Diaz was born on in Izapan, Jalisco, México; his mother died when he was six years old, and he was raised by his godparents in Baja California, México; at age fourteen he worked cutting radishes and cilantro; he entered the bracero program in 1953, and then again from 1956 to 1960; he worked in Arizona picking cotton, lettuce, melon, and watermelon.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Diaz remembers his childhood and cutting radishes and cilantro; he joined the bracero program in 1953, and from 1956 to 1960; he worked in Arizona picking cotton, lettuce, and watermelon; during 1953, he joined a group of braceros that held a strike due to bad food; he describes how the Mexican consulate representative sided with the farmer and how the group was moved to a different field and sent to México; in 1956, he was contracted in Empalme, Sonora, México; he expresses the conditions men suffered while waiting for contracts, how they were contracted, and their trip to the border; furthermore, he describes the processing center in El Centro, California, the medical exams given, the fumigation process, and the bad treatment they got; he relates that he was taken to Yuma, Arizona were he worked until 1960; moreover, he presents how contracts were renewed, how he was paid, the work he did, and how he was allowed to live in San Luis, Sonora, México with his family; he describes their work week, and how checks were held sometimes to ensure an extra day of work from the men; finally, he states that his boss helped him become a resident and that he remembers his time as a bracero as a hard period, but one that allowed him to better his life and family.
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Interview with Cirilo Diaz by Annette Shreibati, 2006, "Interview no. 1188," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.