Long live the farmworkers!
My late father, Salomón Chavez Huerta, first arrived in this country as an agricultural guest worker in the mid-1900s, during the Bracero Program. The Bracero Program represented a guest worker program between the United States and Mexico. From 1942 to 1964, the Mexican government exported an estimated 4.6 million Mexicans to meet this country’s labor shortage not only in the agricultural fields during two major wars (WWII and Korean War), but also in the railroad and mining sectors.
Like many braceros of his generation from rural Mexico, my father didn’t speak too much about the horrible working / housing conditions he endured while toiling in el norte. This included low pay, overcrowded housing, terrible food, limited legal rights, lack of freedom outside of the labor camps, racism, verbal / physical abuse and price gauging from company landlords / stores.
(PNS reporting from LOS ANGELES) Newly-uncovered video confirms allegations that the U.S. Government stole and perverted POCHO Jefe-in-Chief Lalo Alcaraz’s 1998 plan to use remote-controlled robots (now called drones) for peaceful purposes.
The short informational piece, which Alcaraz made for the United States Department of Labor, aired only once — on local access cable TV program Illegal Interns. It was lost to the public until a VHS version was discovered in a storage locker in Boyle Heights last week.
Alcaraz’ documentary illustrates how remotely-controlled farm workers/braceros (called “cyber-braceros” or “cybraceros” for short in the quaint lingo of the 20th Century) could pick American crops without crossing America’s border.
Sadly, Alcaraz’ prophetic vision of remotely-controlled robots was perverted by Tio Sam and used for killing foreigners overseas and snooping on Americans at home.
The Labor Department video starts at 1:05 into the program:
(PNS reporting from HOLLYWOOD) Hoping to capitalize on the Devious Maids buzz, Fox will jump on the stereotypical Latino programming bandwagon with a new entry this fall called Foxy Farmworkers.
The show will follow a quirky group of “young, single and ready-to-mingle” Mexican farmworkers as they make their way from the impoverished US-Mexico border to fields in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Michigan.
Between backbreaking 14-16 hour days in the sun and working in the fields, the young men manage to get themselves into a world of trouble chasing after petite, white women in the towns they pass through, breaking hearts along the way.
President Barack Obama and I met up yesterday in Keene, a pueblito of a town in Kern County, CA. Obama was there to dedicate a monument to César Chávez and I was there to witness. See — that’s me with the President in the background!
After a groggy three-hour drive started at the crack of dawn, I stood in what seemed like a mile-long line along with several thousands of other UFW supporters and Obama backers in the dusty, windy Tehachapi morning.
We came to witness the President’s dedication of the 398th Federal National Monument, known as La Paz, and now the Cesar Chavez National Monument in Keene, built on the site of an old tuberculosis hospital in the Tehachapi Mountains. UFW co-founder and labor icon Chavez is buried on the grounds of his longtime HQ. It is idyllic, and a little dusty.
Dancers danced. Mariachis played. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis spoke, also Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Paul Chavez, son of Cesar. I took my family to make sure our three kids got to witness history and see the first African-American president in the flesh. Also historical!
Sabado Pochonte Triple Feature! Cheech Marin’s collection of “small Chicano paintings” lights up the documentary Chicanitas, the black and white history of braceros comes to life in Harvest of Loneliness and the classic poem by Ruben Dario shimmers in the wordless animated Margarita.