[Marxism] Braceros Again?

Tony Abdo gojack10 at hotmail.com
Fri Feb 13 23:52:19 MST 2004


A new Bracero Program for Mexican workers? You would have thought that Bush 
would have had the decency to have finished up paying the workers from the 
previous US Bracero program before proposing a new one? What a character our 
president is! He seems to have a genius for international PR work.
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Migrant Workers Seek Lost Funds
Thu Feb 12
By MORGAN LEE, Associated Press Writer

MEXICO CITY - Mexicans who worked in the United States during and after 
World War II intensified efforts to collect unpaid retirement funds, meeting 
Thursday with Mexico's interior secretary about millions of dollars that 
disappeared and never was paid out.   Claims by the workers have gained 
momentum since President Bush proposed similar savings accounts as part of a 
temporary work program for new migrants. The money for the old program 
disappeared somewhere between U.S. and Mexican banks.

Mexican migrants, known as "braceros," toiled in the United States between 
1942 and the mid-1960s under a guest worker program that required a portion 
of their earnings be deducted for retirement in Mexico. Like Bush's plan, 
the money was collectible only in Mexico, an incentive for migrants to 
return home. But the workers never received the money, and demands for the 
deferred wages have been under investigation for decades. The former migrant 
workers warn the new migrants won't get their money either.

About 200 former migrant workers gathered Thursday, waiting to show Mexican 
officials old U.S. Justice Department identifications and yellowed work 
contracts. They said they want a meeting with President Vicente Fox, and 
concrete promises they will be paid.

"We aren't asking for charity," said Federico Alvarado, who spent the late 
1950s and early 1960s picking crops in Texas, Arkansas, California and 
Michigan. "This money belongs to us."

Later Thursday, about 15 representatives met with Interior Secretary 
Santiago Creel, who promised: "We aren't going to rest until we find a 
solution."

Jose Cristobal Fernandez, coordinator of the National Braceros Association, 
says the Bush savings plan has prompted renewed demands for payments from 
the old plan.

"If you're going to open a new account today, well then settle the old one 
first — it's real simple," said Fernandez, whose group includes former 
temporary workers in Mexico and the United States.

Last Saturday, hundreds of former migrant workers pushed past security 
guards at Fox's ranch, 185 miles northwest of Mexico City, and spent about 
four hours protesting on the property. Migrant worker leader Ventura 
Gutierrez said the migrants plan to return to Fox's ranch on Saturday and 
apologize to the president's family.

"We've had to resort to radical action for the government to take this 
subject seriously," said Rosa Martha Zarate, who coordinates a chapter of 
the National Braceros Association in California. "We hope that regardless of 
the consequences that the government will pay the braceros ... and pay the 
consequences for a theft that has been set aside by several administrations. 
Unfortunately, now it's up the President Fox."

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