Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Evangelina Basua was born on a small ranch in Sinaloa, México, in 1948; she had three sisters and two brothers; her parents worked in agriculture, which she helped them with by the time she was roughly six years old; she was formally educated through the third grade; when she was sixteen, she married Virgen Beltrán Ochoa, who later served in the bracero program; consequently, her brother, brother-in-law, and cousin were also braceros.
Summary of Interview
Ms. Basua describes her family and what her life was like growing up; when she was young, her brother José worked as a bracero, and he often brought her dolls from the United States; she goes on to discuss the circumstances surrounding her marriage to Virgen Beltrán Ochoa, when she was sixteen; they heard about the bracero program on the radio, and he went to Empalme, Sonora, México to enlist; as a bracero, he worked in Arizona and California picking cotton and cutting lettuce; his hands were ruined, especially because of all the thorns in the cotton; he was usually gone for three to six months at a time; while away, he lived in metal barracks with many other men, and he made his own food; his favorite place to work was in Indio, California, and his least favorite was Yuma, Arizona, because it was always so hot; instead of sending letters, he would often send money to his family through someone else who was going back to Mexico; when he returned he would bring his wife different types of cloth for her to make clothing; when he was gone, she would wash and iron clothes to help support her family; it was very hard for her and her children; she and three other women, whose husbands were also braceros, would help each other, and together they would count the days until their husbands’ return; after the program ended, Virgen worked the land, and he also bought and sold cattle; Evangelina also describes how her husband died while in Durango, Mexico; she later emigrated to the United States with her children, and she ultimately became a citizen
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Interview with Evangelina Basua by Alejandra Díaz, 2003, "Interview no. 1334," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.