Bracero Oral History Project
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Dr. Pedro A. Ortega, M.D. was born in Alquizar, Havana, Cuba, on February 22, 1927; while in Cuba, he was employed at a clinic for the workers and family of an American owned nickel processing plant; in 1961, he came to the United States, and shortly thereafter he was offered a position at the Public Health Office in El Paso, Texas; he worked at Rio Vista, a bracero processing center in Socorro, Texas, until it closed.
Summary of Interview
Dr. Ortega recalls how he was employed as a surgeon at a hospital for the workers and family of an American owned nickel processing plant; the plant was attacked and bombed, which caused him to flee the country; in 1961, he came into the United States through Miami, Florida, at the very beginning of the Castro regime; after being in the U.S. for only two weeks, he was offered a position with the Public Health Office in El Paso, Texas, working at Rio Vista, a bracero processing center in Socorro, Texas; he describes the various procedures the braceros went through while there at Rio Vista and his role in them; his ability to speak Spanish proved to be very helpful; he briefly mentions the Mexican coyotes who charged men for the opportunity to become braceros; in addition, he comments that he never saw any evidence of prostitution while there; he blames the Mexican politicians for the failure of the Bracero Program, and he concludes that he would be willing to help restart the program because he feels there is a need for it.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Pedro A. Ortega M.D. by Richard Baquera, 2003, "Interview No. 1563," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.