UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA in History by

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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA in History by
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
Los Angeles
Michoacanos in Los Angeles: U.S.-Mexican Tra¡snational Cultue
1920-19'70
A dissertation submitted in partial satisfaction ofthe
requirements for the deg¡ee Doctor ofPhilosophy
in History
by
Alvaro Ochoa-Serrano
r998
The dissertation ofAlvarc Ochoa-Sernno is approved
-J
w
t4..-
tt',,-.'
l'". W"PL.-
James W.
Wilkie, Committee Chair
University of Califomia, Los Angeles
1998
This disse¡tation is a t¡ibute to mig¡ants who retwned to their homelands, and to those who
long to retum.
I
also dedicate this wo¡k to Geqoveva and Jesus Covam.rbias, lsaac Gallegos, Jesús
Negrete, Anita SeÍano, María and Salvador Se¡rano, Salvado¡ Sotelo, and María Vázquez.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I
.- SETTING TIIE STAGE
I¡s
^
A¡Acles a¡ú Califomi¿
lvfichoacin.
2.- THE DYNAMICS OF WEST MEJ(ICO MIGRATION................._ .
.............
32
Society in com¡lsion
^
Mct¡oaqán in transition
Natio¡nl rmity a¡d De\dopqsú in St ttfdy
^
3.- MICHOACA¡¡ PEASANTS Al.¡D LrOS 4NGELESWORKERS......................
4.- HOUSINq CI-OTHING,
59
ANDFOOD.......... ....................................
75
Home a¡d ho¡se
^
Cbth and t¡iloú8-
Mcloacfu a
^
5.- LEISURE
the table
ACTMTIES AND
SYMBOLS....
...........,,...
87
Rec¡ca¡ioq a¡rd cdú,raio¡r
MarirclF tadition
as
ar i¡rlrdity
CONCLUSION....
APPENDICES.........
6.-
......,,.......,...
105
..........,........
107
Clo€s¿ry
BIBLIOCRAPTIY.....
0
LIST OF FIGURES AND TABLES
Area............................ .. . .. .. . ...........-...24
Map
oflos
Map
ofMichoacán....
Map
of
Angeles
........................25
La Ciénega de Chapala and Bajio zamorano............................-................ 26
Map ofthe Purépecha Region.........
.............
-......................27
Map ofRailroads, Highways and Roads. 1940...............................................28
Map ofMigration localiries to the Udted States. 1920-1930..............................68
Table
l. Localities and Population. Mchoac¿n
1950. ........ ....
.. . . .......................29
T¿ble 2. Mchoacá¡ Mgrants. Age R¡nges 1929-1930, 19,14, 1955......................... 69
Table 3 Michoacán Mgration f¡ecuency 1945 and 1955.........................................70
Table 4 Michoacanos in Ios Angeles 1928-1929....................................................
7l
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I auly thank
Professors Janes W. Wilkie, Juan Gómez Quiñones, Steven Loza a¡d
Jose Moya, members
of my committee, for their enthusiasm which is reflected in
this disse¡tation, Professo¡ Luis Gorizález y Gonález for his inspirational efforts to
wite on familia¡ people from Michoacán, and P¡ofessor Bcnedict Wa¡ren
great wife Patricia for their initial and wothy assista¡ce and
TLC. I
and his
acknowledge
my appreciation for the migra.nts who shared their experiences during interviews and
in info¡mal chas. I am in vital debt to lrene Vasquez and Lisa Scheffer who made
this work readable in English. I acknowledge El Colegio de Michoacáo, pa¡ticularly
Center for Traditional Studies, and tho l¡stitute
of American Cultures and
the
Chicanos Studies Resea¡ch Center for üeir grants suppofl. ln addition I am grateñ¡t
for the family atmosphere I enjoyed among Cindy and Daniel Chemow, Ma¡ia Elena
Hernández, Agripina and Even Monis-Vasquez,
Ediü and Ma¡k
Doña Lisa Scheffer, Hedb€rto and Lucla Serr¿no. Last but trot
for the eno¡mous family support
I
Ramos-Nishita,
leal I
am thankfi¡l
rec¿ived from Irene Santiago and our children
Erandi, Tani4 Gandhi, and Irenita, including grandson José Emiliano.
VITA
May
l,
1948
Bom, Jiquilpan, Michoacán, México.
19'78
8.A., History
Escuela Nomal Superio¡ de México
México, Dist¡ito Fedenl
1988
M.A., Hisrory
Universidad lberoame¡icana
México, Distrito Federal
1988
Professor
Center of Tradition Studies
El Colegio de Michoacan
1995-97
Field Work, Mexico ¿nd United Srates,
under El Colegio de Michoacan and Institute
ofAmerican Cultures
PUBLICATIONS
Ochoa Setano, A. 1978. Jiquilpan. Mwagafras Mruúcipales. Gobiemo del Estado
de Michoacán.
Ins
Insurgentes de Mezcala. El Colegio de MichoacánGobiemo dsl Estado.
1985.
7989.Los Agraristas de Atacheo. El Colegio de Michoacán.
La Violencia en Michoacán. Ahí iene Chá¡vez Go¡cía.
Michoacano de Cultura.
l99O-
lrt$inÍo
and Uribe Salas, A.l99O. Emigrqntes del Oesf¿. México: Consejo
Nacional para la Cultua Y las Afies
_,
Goldsmit, s. and de Garay, G.1993. Contento y Descontento en
Jalisco, Michoacán y Morelos I906-19II México: Universidad
Tberoamericana.
1994, M¡tote, Fandango y Mariachelo,'. El Colegio de Michoac¡ín,
1995. Repertorío Michoacano 1889-1926,81 Colegio de Michoac¿ín.
1997. Afrodescendientes (Sobre Piel Canela),
Michoac¡án.
El Colegio de
ABSTRACT OF THE DISSERTATION
Michoacanos in Los Angeles: U.S.- Meúc¿n Transnational Culture,
t920-t970
by
Alvaro Ochoa Senano
Doctor of Philosophy in History
University ofCalifornia, Los Angeles, 1998
P¡ofesso¡ James W. Wilkie, Chai¡
This study focuses on a cultu¡al and historical inquiry into housing, clothing, food,
leisue activities, and symbols as well as how these cultr.lral traditions developed
reciprocally in Los Angeles and in Michoacá¡. The majority of western Mexican
migmtion to southern Califomia was from Michoacán. In the disse¡tation
I
examine
migration dynamics and aspects ofdaily life in Mexican and Chicano families, and thei¡
old and new ways ofliving.
Exploring cultural change among migñrnts over lime involves studying popular
traditions, migratory circuits, golondrinos or seasonal mig¡ants, Michoacán food,
"Mexicana alegria" and oüer culh¡ral manifestatio¡ls
flows.
üthin
Michoacán migration
Rancheros o¡ Criollo farmers, Indigenous and Mestizo peasants rep¡esent the
wide variation within the Mexican population. Michoacán cultu¡e is just as socially,
eürrically, nationally, multicuhurally diverse. However the migration process tended to
homogenize this diversity in the United States.
The methodological approaches include a¡chival resea¡ch coupled with oral
interviews and some demographic analysis. Individual-community relations were
studied within one specific 1920-1970 period. Considering that cultu¡e has been a
relevanl factor in migration, this work illustrates the pmcess of how Michoacanos
shaped culture and identity and how
Michoacán and Los Angeles.
it is replenished through
constant interchange in
INTRODUCTION
Purépecha is an indigenous ivord in
Michoácán and it means both thosc who
visit and thosc ryho conqucr a place to li\€.
This study traces migrants to fi¡d out how and to what extent their native
culture plays a ¡ole in the migration process. Speciñcally I have conducted research on
lhe movem€nt of people and cultu¡e between Michoacán and Califomia duri¡g the
period 1920 a¡d 1970. Demog¡aphig sociological and anthropological studies of
migration have been conducted in Mexico as well as in the
U.S. I
propose
to study
Michoacá¡ migrants in Los Angeles, concentrating on topics such as housing, clothing,
food, leisure actiüties, signs and symbols. These elements represent the mig¡ants'
immediate living considerations. In exploring manifestations ofcultural change involving
migrants ove¡ time, I focus on such concepts as traditioq migr¿tory circuits, golondrinos
(seasonal migrants), Michoacán
manifestations of this migrad
food, '.It4exicana alegría" and other
flow. I
cultural
relate thes€ concepts to gerider, geographical
origin and labor pattems.
The data I have selected traces and explains the signific¿nce ofdaily life ard the
s),nbols that migrants sha¡ed in Los Angeles and Mexico ñom 1920
to 1970.
This
period was chosen because the author considers these years hsve comprised a significant
histo¡ical term in Mexican migration. Postrevolutionary actions in Mexico sinc€ 1920,
includirg the Cristero revolt and the agrarian refo.m, involved peasa¡t participation and
induced migration to the
U.S. 'the
year 1942 ma¡ks the begir¡ning of the Bracero
Program, which ended in 1964, and which resulted in an increased flow of Michoacano
migration
to U.S. This program, agreed to by the
United States and Mexican
govemments through the Second World War and the Korean War impacted the lives
of
people dramatically. Immigration Reform laws implemented during the late 1960's
changed or intensified previous pattems. Thus 1970 is a benchmark in the history
of
conternporary Meúcan migration to the United Statcs.
The cullural representations and manifestations ofMichoaca¡o mig¡ation to the
United States a¡e of major impo.tance. These issues are centr¿l to advancing our
understanding of US-Mexican migration because of the numbers of people, the length
of
time ofthe process, and the complexity of social aspects involved currently. Michoacán
le¿ds i¡t the top ten states
in Meúco to
send migrants
contemporary and histo¡ical preponderance
of
to the United States-
Michoacanos
significant cultural ramific¿tions on both sides of the border.
The
in the U.S. sur€ly has
I
here examine cultural
manifestation as it is t¡ansmitted Aom its departure point to its destination in the United
States and
I follow this reciprocity back to Michoacán. My ¡ese¿rcl\ which is bas€d on
cross-border study, emphasizes the Mexican side because
of
diversity
of
a
soutces,
research findingg and the migrants'point ofdeparture.
Individuals and families from the localities of northwest Michoacán such as the
Bajío Zamorano, Cienega de Chapala, Cotija, Purépero, Cañada de los Once Pueblos,
the southwest, as well as severa.l Michoacanos íiom the Pu¡épecha region comprise the
basis
for this study. My work focuses mainly on some municipalities and parishes of the
north cent¡al a¡d no¡thwest po¡tions
of Michoacán.
The Mexic¿n municipalify or
írültic¡pio trrvolves a hpj'd locality ard a ter¡itorial and admi¡istrative ju¡isdictior! more or
less, eqüvalent
to the county in the United States. The author conducted a survey of
several ofthese municipalities from the period
(Emigrants Íiom West
of
1849
Mexico).(l) The continuities
to l94O n Emiqgantes del
and changes
of
Oeste
cultural traditions
were a¡¡alyzed historically as well as through semiotics and generational theories.
My sources are varied- I have conducted oral interviews to understand a wide
and diverse group of families.
I
asked predominantly about cha¡ge in cultural choices
and expressions. To analyze daily life,
I
have utilized published
work and a va¡iety of
prim¿ry documerits- Primary sources include family letters, o¡al testimonies, directories,
photograph albums, newspapers, censuses, marriage records, and particularly family
collections
of cook books, song books, music records, and moües. My
scrutinizing a preüous period, contribut€s to the cune¡t historiography
researcl¡
of Mexic¡n
migration. I c¡¡sulted the follows: the Meúc¿n Conslate fuchives and the pasgport
applic¿tior s€ction located in the Secretary ofForeign Relations a¡d the A¡chivo General
de la Nación in Mexico City, state a¡chives in Morelia, the capital city, and municipal and
p¿rish a¡chives in Michoacár¡ as well as personal and sp€cial collections.
Literature of the contemporary Michoacán mig¡ation is nowadays becoming
extensive. However, a briefreüew
ofit
is hcre displayed.
Amstrong (t949) e¡nphssized
lhe cultur¿l deteminations of migration in Ch¿ünda. His wo¡k is cluonologically the
first o¡r approaching Michoacán migration; Belshaw (1961) acc€nted development and
migration in his book on Huecorio, a rural town io I¿ke Patzcuaro regio4 Cockoñ
(1982), in the case studies, tudied migfant communities sround Morelia; Fonsec¿ a¡d
Moreno (1984) focused on Jaripo, in the Villamar municipality. l,opez Castro (198ó)
app.oached the family issue on Gomez Farias, in rhe Municipality ofTangancicuaro. Ina
R. Dinnerman (1974) highlighted women role in migration p¡ocess, as Gail Mumrnert
does currently. George Foste¡ studied on 'fzirtzrntzan, an lndigenous town Lake
Patzcuaro region; Luis Miguel tuonda (1996) Copandaro. Devra Weber (1996), a
historian, focused on Angamacutiro migrants. Ra)¡rnond E. Weist since 1970 has been
working on Acuitzio. Celestino Femandez stl¡died Sa¡ta Inés, in the municipality of
Tocumbo, his pa¡ents' hometorryn. Uribe and Ochoa (1990) established historical
background ofmigranrs &om west Michoacán.
In spite of an enormous distance, more than fifteen hundred miles away from
e¿ch other, Califomia and Michoacán are related closely by migratory cultural
li¡ks. The
first connectio¡s were established in the l9th century, when Califomia was still a p¿rt
Mexico. Laler, free workers, exiled
of
MichoacáL¡r men and women entered Califomia
betwe€n 1904 and 1929. Such relations were int€nsified during the Brace¡o Program
(1942-1964). This worldorc€ agreerient, which allowed Mexican wo¡kers to labof in U.
S. industries and fields, was signed by the United States and Meúcan govemments.
World Wa¡ II and the Kore¿n War were the primary reasons for the migratory movement
in this period.
Indeed, between Michoac¡ín and Califomia the¡e was a sort of ancient and
much-t¡ansited
road- Mgrants also ca¡ne by way of the Paciñc Oce¿¡. Before the
Guadalupe Hidalgo T¡eaty
in 1848, Alta Califomia was know¡r as the
Michoacano vagants. Both the state govemnent
of
destination for
Michoacán and the Mexiaa[
federal autho¡ities t¡ied to induce migration to lhe Provinc€ of the Califomias.(2) The
Gold Rush also attracted many people to Califomia, Westem Mexico inhabitants among
them. Michoacano men in different occupations, chiefly muleteers, traders, field servants
and artisans arrived to wo¡k in California, in the states of the Great Lakes (Minnesota,
Michiga4 Indian4 lllinois, Ohio), and ir¡ the southem states during the 1920s, due to
rapid industrialization and intemationelized work processes.
The tra¡scontinental railroad as well as the e¿stem and northe¡¡ railroads in
Mexico built at the erd of the 19th century and beginning of the 20ü century funher
integrated Mexico ¡nto the intemational market, and destroyed old regional trading
networks. Local t¡ansportation services such as mule-driüng werg undercut by ch€aper
and more efficient transportation means which increased the migration
themselves, trading merL a¡tisans, sharecroppers
to the U.S.
muleteers displaced by trains in Mexico wo¡ked in
ofthe
muleteers
Paradoxically, former
lafng tracks
h
the United States
(Southem Paciñg Saúa Fe Railway, Union Paciñc, Paciñc Electric Railway), altemating
sometimes in agricultu¡al
actiüries. The U.S. offered inc€ntives to Mchoacán migrants.
Wages in Mexico averaged twenty ñve or
fifty cents per day while workers received the
equivalent oftwo and a halfor four gold '!esos" a day
Besides the gre¿t attraction
st¿ndards
fo¡ the day's work
in the U.S.(3)
in pay, migrants sea¡ched for a way to
¡aise
of liüng in Mexico. A spirit of adveriture, escape from the law and political
exile also moved men to go beyond the borde¡. From
decre¿sed while Mexic¿n immigrants
l9l0 to l92l Mexican popuLation
in the U.S. incre3sed. According to censuses of
population Meúco had mostly a million population loss in
l92l
while 486,418 Mexican
immigrants c¿me to the United States in the same yearJ. The Made¡isra ¡ebellion of
l9l l,
the de la Huenista rebellion
of
1923, and the Cristero revolt
of
1926 forced many
Medcans to aba¡don their homelands and protect their lives. Guanajuato, Jalisco and
Michoacán were significanl as Cristero contestants, and Michoacano men and women
intensified noticeably their presence in Califomia.(4) Mexican consulate ¡ecords in Los
Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego, as well as news in local daily papers and migrant
family testimonies corroborate this mig¡ation flow.
The 1929 crisis in the United States compelled thousands of Mexicans people
to retum home. The pres€nce of Mexicans in the U.S. declircd from 640,741 in l930 to
377,433 in 1940. The agrarian reform brought back Michoacán men at the beginning
of
the 1930s. However, being land insuñcient for pe¿sant petitioners; and local conflicts,
political oppression, cyclical agriculture crises, floods in the ñelds, th€ Coalcomán
e¿rthquake
in 1941, the eruption
of
the Pa¡icutin volc€¡o in 1943, and demographic
increase caused wo¡ke¡s and peasants
to leave Mchoacán again. A¡other faotor for
immigration was the United States participation
h
the World War
U. Wa¡ime
indust¡ies
offered new job opportunities fo¡ men 8nd women ñom Michoacán, as did the need for
agricultural wo¡kers.
Some wo¡ks examine culture
in Mexican migra¡lts a¡d can be seen in the
studies ofPed¡o Caslillo and Antonio Rios-Busta[ante, Albert Cama¡illo, and George J.
Sanchez.(5) Culture has always been a factor in migration and the purpose
ofthis work
is to illustrate the process of how Michoacanos have involved thei¡ culture in Los
Angeles by replenishing it through c¡nstant interchange.
Notes.
1.- U¡ibe and Ochoa, 1990.J. Alcalá. 1981. Ochoa and
c.
Sánchez. 1985.
2.-El Asfio
Novernber 2, 1a29. Apntes
Alvdrez.l854.Morclia: Reimpreso por Ignacio A¡ango, p 13.
de D.
[email protected]
3.- U¡ibe a¡d Ochoa. 1990.. SeeM. GonzÁlez Navaro. 1954.
4.- ¡&¡'rr!e. Instituto Nacional de Estadlstica, Geogafia e Informatica. 1985. U.S.
Census of population. t920, Mexic¿n ir¡migr¿nts bom in MExico. Secretaría de
Ia Op¡nión. 1940.
Interview with Jesus Covarubias Msgaña, Montebello, Ca., November 24, 1994
Rel¿ciones Exteriores-GE. Infonne del Consulado de Los Angeles.
conducted by Alvaro Ochoa Senano.
5.- P. Castilo. 1989. A. Ca¡¡arillo. 1979. C. J. Sanchez. 1993.
CHAPTER I
SETTING THE STAGE
The location, chronological and cultu¡al settings ale in two geographic ¡egions:
southern Califomia and central westem
Mexico. The latter will deserve mo¡e our
attention, co¡sidering it as a round trip departure site. The two regions were in contact
by navigation in the Pacific Ocean, connected by telephone lines, communicated by
a
la¡ge intemational bridge on the Pacific Railroad, by the Morelia-Guadalajara-Tijuana
highway, and by the Guadalajara-Tijuana and
I¡s
A¡geles-Guadalajara
flights.
The
particula¡ focus is on the living space of Los Angeles county and the neighborhoods to
which Mexican migrants adapted over time.
Los Anseles and Califomia
Nuestra Seño¡a Reina de Los Angeles was founded
in l78l by Cdollos,
Neg¡o€s, Mulattos, lndians and Mestizos, and thereafte¡ an ethnically mixed population
developed and multiplied. Most
northwestem Mexico, forme
of these early settlers migrated ftom westem
y New Spain. The Angelinos
and
made their living by
agriculhrc and livestock raising. After being a pueblo in colonial and independenr
Mexico, a century later, in 1881, it became the second la¡gest city in Califomia, due to
inqeased immig¡ation and the tr¿¡sfo¡mation of landownering Califomians and fa¡m
worke¡s into urba¡¡ people. At the same time, La Placita and the east side were converted
into a Mexican neighborhood.( I )
A community su¡vey of eleven districts made in Los Angeles City by
1917
indicated out of the total population 30.170 were Mexican origin, while 24.97o were
Anglo American and 45olo were
of
various nationalities. Mexicans inhabited
predominately in six of the eleven districts. San Ped¡o Town was not accountcd for in
the survey because
Angeles census
in
it "was so remote that it
had to be givcn
1920 showed a considerable number
Pedro. Two districts achieved, each one, more than
500%
up."
However, the Los
of Mexican neighbors in
San
and another two districts a one-
third consisted of Mexican residents. Those areas included: Palo Verde in Ellysian Park
on the No¡th, Cleveland, Adobe and
Hill
streets on the Westi River to Humboldt street on
the East, and No¡th Main and Alhambra on the South; Main steet on the West;
Alhamb¡a road on the No¡th; fuver on the East, and First st¡eet on the South. The latter
two we¡e located along St. Louis street on the West, Brooklyn avenue on the North, City
limits and Belvedere on the East, and Pourth sfteet on the South; River on the West,
Fou¡th street on the North, Eaa to Hollenbeck, to Rosalind on üe East, and Ninth street
on the South.(2)
The city grew thanks to intensive agriculture and livestock raising, real estate
development, industrialization, and urbaniz¿tion- Romo, a historian states, "The impact
ofthe inte¡urban network on ¡esidential dispersal was already evident in 1910".
Some
n€ighbo¡hoods doubled their population in a decade. The trolley played an important
role in the growing city. In the 1920s, the trolley lines extended to San Pedro and Santa
Monica in the west, to Balboa and Santa Ana on the souüem coast, to La Habra, Covina
and Glendo¡a iri the east, a¡rd to Glendale and Mount Lowe in the
norlh. Henry
E.
Huntington, the promoter of the trolley system planned the route to the east side, an
itinerary that extended to Boyle Heights and Ma¡avilla. It was observed that
The lines to these outlying areas staned the massive exodus of Mexic¿ns ñom
the Plaza to the east side. Many of them were workers who depended on
inexpensive public transportation to get from their new ¡esidences on the east
side tojobs in the urban industries.(3)
A majority of the Mexican population of Los Angeles moved to East Los
Angeles, between the Los Angeles fuver and Boyle Avenue, and to Compton during the
twenties. Residential locations were directly related to living space and interurban
ttansportation. As well, Pasadena, Lo¡g Beach and Santa Monica labor camps were
occupied mainly by Mexican wo¡ke¡s and their families who labo¡ed very intensively for
low wages while in other parts of southem Califonia.(4) More than a million people of
Mexican origin inhabited the city
w¡iter perceived it
i¡
oflos
Angeles in the 1930s. Octavio Paz, a Mexican
those yea¡s-
At first sight, the visitor is surpris€d not only by the purity of the sky and the
ugliness of the dispersed and ostentatious buildings, but also by the city's
vaguely Mexican atmosphere, which cannot be oaptured in words or co¡c€pts.
This Mexic¿nism -delight in deco¡afio¡s, ca¡elessness d pomp, negligence,
passion and reserve-- floats in the air. I say "floats" because it never mixes or
unites with the other wo¡ld, the No¡th Ame¡ican world based on precision and
efTiciency.(5)
Califomia is a 158,693 square mile region loc¡ted in the westem part of the
United States. This state has great cont¡asts in geography and climat€. Fo¡ inst¿nce,
Mount whitney is one of the highest pe¿ks in the United States, and southeast of this
mountain is Death Valley. Climatic va¡iation
tpifies the region. Livestock, fishing
agriculture and industry constitute the main economic activities. Agriculture is carried
on in the San Joaquir\ Napa and Sar Femando Valleys. Beginning in the thifies, as a
result
of developmert, California
increased its population dramatically in less than forty
l0
years. 6,907,381 inhabitants lived in the state in 1940, 10,586,223 in 1950, and
15,717,204 inhabita¡ts
in 1960.
There were 19,953,134 people living therc
in
1970.
Inhabitants multiplied respectively each decade at aral.e of 22yo,53yo,48o/o and 27yo (6)
The Mexican migration to California also increased along with US population
rates in the same
period. ln
1940 there were 134,312 Mexicans registered in the census,
36,840 of them --almost a quarter- lived in Los Angeles. At the end of 1960, migants
from different regions ofthe wo¡ld entered the stat€. Some figures of 1955-1960 show
that 16,718 arrived from Mexico, 8,481 were Canadians, 5,932 froñ the United
Kingdom; 4,200 Cermans, 1,996 Aom Japan; 1,430 Chinese including those ñom
Formosa; 884 Irish; 847 ltalians; 384 from Poland, and 200 Cubans. The immigrants
came mainly f¡om the two neighboring countries, Mexico and Canada. On the one hand,
2,148,255 people entered Californi¿ between 1955 and 1960, while on the other hand,
938,455
of them moved out. Ov€rall,
1,209,800 newcomers
to Los Angel€s
were
accounted fo¡ in the census.(7)
Betweer 1943 and 1955, acoording to passpott application records, Michoacán
immigrants in Califomia preferred destinations in Santa Ba¡bara, Stocktor\ San Diego,
Sacramento, San F¡ancisco, Salinas, N€sto¡, Riverside, Orange County, Daly City,
Lindsay, Tracy, San Luis Obispo, Santa A¡na" Hammet, Cutler (Tulare County),
Kinisbur& and over all in the San Bernardino and the Los Angeles Counties (including
Asuza, Comptor! Fullerton, Huntington Beach, Inglewood, city of Los Angeles, Los
Nietos, Montebello, Pasaden4 Redondo Beach Sa¡ Fernando, San Pedro, Santa Monica,
Venice, Whittier, Wilming¡on). Several Michoacriu: families remaired in downtowr! but
ll
most of them moved to South Central, Compton, and East Los Angeles, particularly
Belvedere and Boyle H€ights.(8) (See Map ofLos Angeles Area).
Comptoí is located in a ceritral plain, ten miles south Aom dow¡rtown Los
Angeles. One of the oldest communities in Southern Califomia which changed more
drastically since the beginning ofthe century. By 1920 the Mexican Ba[io ofCompton
was firmly established by growing urbanization. Nearby Watts-Willowbrook comprised
other area of Mexican demographic significance. However, the Mexican families
of
Compton remained relatively secluded in the cornmunity until 1940.(9)
In l94Q in Los Angeles alone there we¡e l, 504, 277 inhabit¿nts predominantly
"Americans, Mexicans, Canadians, English, Gerrians a¡d Japanese" in an a¡e¿ of450.?4
square
miles. Prior to
1950 the city had its first f¡eew¿y,
Aroyo Seco Pa¡kway, to
which ran íiom one side ofthe city io the other. Los Angeles also had an airport. Local
radio stations flourished. Industrialization incre¿sed employment opportunities (4,835
jobs in industry in 1940).
Ií
the fifties, Los Angeles became the founh mosr populous
city in the United States, the first ard biggest one of 'Mexicanos de afuera", and due to
many thousands
ofc¡rs it
also became
'the world's largest parking lot".(10) Automobile
and tire companies replac€d the trolley system down.
One of the 58 counties in California
seasho¡e and
in 1970, Los Angeles lies between
hills. K¡own befo¡e as the Que€n ofthe Cow Counties, Los Angeles
has
tumed into the most important development c€nter in the state as well one of the most
important in the country. San Pedro pier had a gre¿t de¿l of activity. ln the 1960s, in
comparison to the northem rural part of the state,
lived in Los Angeles County.( I I )
12
3
7 out
of every hund¡ed Califomians
Michoacán
In Nahuatl, Michoacán means the place of lakes and fishermen lts location is
in the central westem pa¡t of Mexico and is one of the three main states contributing
migrarits
to the United States during the first half of the 20ú century.
Besides
unfavo¡able social and economic conditions geographic events also i¡duced the
migration process- The Coalcomrán earthquake
in l94l
and the Parícutin eruption in
1943 which affected the Purépecha region coupled with floods in the Pa¡indicua¡o and
Ch¿pala areas caused mainly middle class Michoacáú peoples to migrate to the U.
S
The
majority of these migrants left areas in the central and northwest valleys which were
relatively fertile
Since the Colonial e¡4 the Catholic church
i¡fuenc€d the state and the daily lives
of Medco people. The Morelia a¡chdiocese and the bishopric of zamora were ü1hin the
limits of what is now Mchoacátr before 1920,. The two dioceses included local parish
jurisdicrions (similar to municipa.lities). P¡ior to 190 the dioces€ ofzamora used to be on
an extended jurisdiction €ncompassirg the northwest and southwest a¡€as
the Tacámba¡o diocese was built
ií
Mountains cover most
Tepalcatepec Plain and B¿lsas
ofthe
192q and the Apdzingán diocese was created
of
st¿te
ir
until
l9ó0.
Michoacán, except the northem valleys, the
Basin.
According
to
administrative and natu¡al
geographic regional studies, the state was usually divided into four pa¡ts during the
fifties: 1.- Ciénega de Chapa.la and Bajío, II.- Montañosa Central, IIL- TieÍa Caliente,
and IV.- Montañosa Coste¡a.
Lüs
Gotuitlez' a Mexican historian, classified eight
specific regions: Bajío Z¿mo¡a¡o, Morelia" Queréndaro and Ma¡avatío Valleys, Central
Balconies, Purepecha Regiorl Tepalcatepec Plain, Balsas Basin, Southwestem Mountair!
l3
and the Coast. (See Map
ofMichoacán). Gonzilez considers the Ciénega de Chapala
as
part ofthe Bajio Zamo¡ano.(t2)
Located in the riorthwest pa¡t of the statg the Ciénega de Chapala and Bajío
regions
in
1960 included these municipalities: Ecuandureo,
Ixlár\ Jiquilpaa La Piedad,
Pajacuarán, Régules, Sahuayo, Tanhuato, Venustiano Cana¡z4 Vista Hefmos4 B¡iseñas,
Chavind4 Villamar, Yurebuaro atñ Zamora. On a former damp land, the Zamora Valley
and the Ciénega are considered very fertile ground and as is true
ofother neighboring areas
¡ecently opened to cultivation. (See map ofthe Ciénega de Chapala and Bajío). In the early
1900s the Ciénega experienaed a great demographic change due
to the influx of labo¡e¡s
who paficipated in the d¡aining project promoted by the Maruel Cuesta Galla¡do and
Brothers Compa¡ry. Howeve¡ the floods of 1926,1935 and 1955 undermined agricultural
potemials in the region t¡us this became strong a¡e¿ ofexpulsion ofmigf¿nts.(13)
Characteristics
of the Bajío and
Ciénega ¡eveal several socioeconomic a¡d
cultur¿l det¿ils. Jiquilpan and Sahuayo, precolonial sites in the Purepecha expansion to the
west, developed as Mestizo loc¿lities in the colonial and National period. Zamora was
conceived primarily as a village
bec¿me see
for Spaaiards and C¡iollos'lilla de españoles' and later
ofthe dioc¡se in 1864. The inhabitants ofthe tlree vicinities worked mainly in
ag¡icultur¿l aclivities, and the Sahuayo and Zamora families involved themselves trading.
Navigation on th€ Lake Chapal4 and on the Lerma and Duero Rivers was very imPo¡tant
dudng the last century. The region was integ¡at€d to the Cent¡al Meúc¿no R¿ilroad, to
vecinal roads and to lhe Guadalajara-Morelia-México highway. The Bajío ¿nd the Ciénega
still in 1970 remained agriculturally the most productivq in spite of the agricult.ral
l4
techniques used by peasants: high mechanization technology in the districts
and utilization ofmules or oxen as powe¡ to plough in the seasonal areas
of ir¡igatioq
ofthe ejidos.
On a smaller scale, Jiquilpan figured as a political and administrative district
du¡ing the Porfirio Diaz regime a¡d as the c€nler of an imporant municipality in the
postrevolutionary era until 1970. Two presidents of Mexico had be€n bom in the modest
city, Ariastasio Bustarnante (1780-1853) and Lázffo Cárderias (1895-1970' and as well as
several prominent governors. The city played a signiñcant role in the agra¡ian movement
led by Cárdenas.
ln the region of
la
Ciénega living conditions were largely determinated
by agricultural cycle¡ weather conditions a¡d political circumstances.(14)
Similar ahnic and cultu¡al conditions cha¡acterize the Ta¡huato-Yurécua¡o and
Numa¡an-La Piedad co¡ridors, and the people of these localities depended upon fishing
small indusries and agricultural artivities. The l,€¡ria river served as a communicatio¡ and
t.ansportation means and a¡ impo¡ta.rit resource for irrigation. L¿ Piedad a¡d Yurécua¡o,
due
to their slrat€gic situatior!
developed important commercial networks. Rail¡oads
played a significant role in the social and economic¿l int€gration ofthe no.thwest regiori to
Guadalajara, the main
city of western Mexico.
Southern Pacific Railroad of
Mexim ran
from Guadalajara to Los Angeles in a four day joumey.
OIr the other sidg
in a diferent
landscapg Coúja and Pu¡epero are clearly
examples of Mestizo-criollo ¡anchero settlements. Cotija's founders established
it
on a
foothill among "extensive a¡d thick foress and near a lake situated severi leagues towa¡d
the east".
A local author wrote last century that those founder families 'Seeking gold and
Mary
better possessions oflands" rode to
üe raüres ofJilotl{h and Santa Ma¡ia del Oro
of Gold). In any
or Cotüeños were fa¡nous as excellent muleteers
case, Cotijans
l5
(S.
and
traders. Puréperq located on the border ofTlazazalc4 came to life
a m€rced (a royal grant of land)
the lóth century from
for Francisco de la Cueva y Mendoza , who added "some
lands a¡d fields" which he bought from the natives
opposed proc.ess
ií
ofthe ne¿rby town ofTlazaz¡lca. lnan
of concent.ation aod expansioq the efate of Purepero in 1760 broke up
without a.llowing the formation of latifundi¿ in a few hands.(I5)
Purépero tumed into an e$ablishment of muletee¡s, artisans and tradesmen in the
lgth centu¡y. Stanislawski, a history geographer, assumes that the mule{river "apparcntly
took only enough land fo¡ the use ofhis family becaus€ his interest was mule ransport and
not landholding". Seve¡al altematives were handled, exchanging cereals, groceries and
crafts all over the fa¡ and ne€r regions du¡ing pa¡t
some crops, and
ofthe ye3r, and raising cattlg o¡ltiveting
naking handicnfts in thc rainy se¡son. This town along
üth
thos€
of
Tsngancicuaro, Zinápa¡q Chud¡fzio, Cotü4 Sahuayo, Puruiándiro and Chilchota formed a
significant $¡pply netwo¡k fo¡ the mines ofthe north and for the ag¡icultu¡al and livestock
€states
ofthe soúh ard fo¡ the international tr¡de in the port ofManzanillo.( I 6)
Puruándi¡o is part ofthe latt€r merc¿ntile con¡ection and is loc¿ted in the nonh
cer¡tral area
ofthe $¿tg in the Morelia region. The name ofthe region comes from being
th¿t of the c¡pital
city.
This ¡egion had geological evolution similar to thst of tho Bsjlo
Zamorano. Plainq volc¿nic mountains, the L€fma river and l¿ke Cuitzeo confom an
8,000 squa¡e kilometer surf¿ce. As an ancient settlemer4 Pr¡¡uá¡diro aclod as s natu¡a.l
Pr'trépechs
tor¡ti€r ¿djac€rf the ¡iver. Ag¡ic{¡ltu¡sl ectivities vi€re corisid€rable in the esfst€s
of Zurumuato, Villachu¿to atld oth€rs. S€asonal transit roads a¡d railroads connecl€d the
territory wih oth€r stat€s. Therefore the city act€d as a releva¡t t¡ade center du¡i¡g üe lasÍ
aentury.(
l7)
l6
Zacapu and its Ciéneg4 connected to the national ma¡ket through the AjunoPuruiindi¡o branch of the Central Mexicano Railroad, experienced a great demographic
impact du€ to the abundance of laborers who pa¡ticipated in the d¡ainage project promoted
by the Noriega Company dudng the first decade ofthe 20th century. Agricultural activities,
and industry later, demanded supplementary worldorce. Urbanization development and
demographic increase
ofthc plac€ also imp¡oved
as
well
as the industrializ¿tion intensified
in the t950s.
Chilchota is a native town and lies at the lower end ofa small valley, la Cañad4 at
about 5,800 fe€t ofelevalion. The fertile soils, the flar surface for plow agriculture, wa¡er in
abundance
llom nearby springs, good climate riade e¡sy life for s¿'ttl€rs. The Indian
commu¡ities ofthe slopes were moved by the Span¡sh onto the lowland, and ten s€ttlements
were e$ablished in the
va.lley. Spaniards took up lard nea¡ty
¿rid insalled
mills.
Spa¡rish
a¡d Mesizo mule-d¡ivers converted Chilchota irito a way station on the route from Mexic¡
City to the wes of Mexico. The people ofthe Cañad¡ de los Onc€ Pueblos eam theif living
from agriculture and
in
some crafts: mule{riving was active before the Morelia-
Guadalajara highway bypassed the valley and connected to the Carapan-Uruapan !oad.(I8)
ln the c€ntral
mountains, the Sierra or Mes€ta Purepecha rest on a volc¡nic
surface. Parangaricutiro a¡d its su¡roundings were affected by the Parícutin votcano in
Febru¿ry
of 1943.
San Jua¡l Nuevo, soulh the former placc, b€came the new settlement
for Parangaricutiro people. (S€e M¿p of the [email protected] Region). UruapEn funclions as a
relevant junction for trade ftom the Si€r¡a at¡d the Hot Country. On the one haad, the city is
the c¡¡ter of avoc¿do poduclio4 on lhe oth€r ha¡4
commerce for the f€rtile Apantzingán
it
developed as an extension
Valley. As well former gove¡nor and
t7
of
president
Láza¡o Cárdenas took the Tepalcatepec Basin Commission
in
charge
established his headqua¡ters in Uruapan. for implementing developme¡t
Coalcomá¡r lies at the foothills of tlrc Sierra Madre del
comprises the southem
i¡
in
1947, and
the ¡egion.( 19)
Sur. The Coast regjon
limit; Low l¿nd or Tierra Caliente (Hot Country)
demarcates the
southem boundary, with one ¡iver on each side: the Balsas on the east a¡d the Coahuayana
on the
west. Its landscape includ€s mountains, ravines, cliffs and very few valleys. Mining
and cattle raising were prima¡y actiüties rather than
agricultue. Cotija and Purépe¡o mule
drivers and modest entreprene.us settled in a formerly native town in the second half ofthe
19th certury.(2o)
AAer this previously survey of the geographical scene, economic and social
relationships and kinship networks as linkage mechanisms
will be
emphasized
in other
chapers. At this momenq corsideration must be giveÍ to the means of communicationInnovations were made
to the railways, tr¿ins and the
steamboats,
to a.llow a
better
mobilization ofproducts and t¡avelers. (See Map ofrailroads and highways). The old and
imperfect system ofhighways, local roads and other unimproved roads was modemized arid
exended in a ¡elative sho¡t period of time. This wave of modemiz¿tion began with the
paved highway MéxicoMo¡elia4uada.lajara du¡ing the presideritial administration
Iáza¡o
Cárdenas, when another Michoacán leade¡, F¡ancisco
ministry of Commu¡ications. Preüously,
in
J
of
Múgic4 dir€cted the
1929, C¿,¡:denas himselt as governor ofthe
$ate, had encou¡aged the building ofgravel roads in the isolated southwest part' ¿nd in the
no¡thwest corridor of the st¿tg close to the railroad
advanc€s were made in p¿ired roads and
routes Moreover in 1960
gre
t
nihoads. Gove¡¡inerit projected arother road line
l8
in
1960,
with its corresponding economic study, from Cer¡o de Ortega to Acapulco, the
present coastal highway
ofthe state.(2l)
Means ofcommunication and transportation were imp¡oved even before 1940, as
in the 882
kilometers
of the
rail¡oads México-Guadalajara, Yurécuaro-Los Reyes,
Maravatio-Zitácuaro, Pénjamo-Ajuno, Acámbaro-Uruapan and Calzonzin-Apatzingán;
ard the 3,648 kilomete¡s of the highways México-Guadalajara, Quiroga-PátzcuaroTacámba¡o, Mo¡elia-Moroleón, Carapan-Uruapan, Pátzcuaro-Ario de Rosales; and the
flights from Mo¡elia, Huetamo, U¡uapan, ApatzingárL Arteaga and Coalcomán to
Colima, Guenero and Mexico City.(2z)
In several pa¡ts ofthe statg horseback remained the only means of t¡ansponation
and communication used during the rainy seamq when gravel roads werc
difficult to t¡avel
betwee¡ the ranche¡ias and the towns. The railroad system cor¡tinued to serve, as well as a¡
accept¿ble oetwofk of¡oads, and telegraph web in the 1950s and the 1960s. Postal s€rvice
expanded by horseback, train, bus, plane; lette¡s brought good and bad news, and €coriomic
¡esourc€s. The telephone intensified communication. Radio stations stafied to broadcast in
the 1930s in Moreli4 in the 1940s in Zamora and Uruapa¡. Better means of
connunication helped to get a better trade, and standdd
ofliüng.
The Guanajuato Power
Company, the Compañía Hid¡oeléctrica de Chapal4 the Eléctrica Moreli4 Compañía del
Duero and other local com¡ranies produced electricity for industrial, comme¡cial and
domestic facilities. (23)
In
1921, acrording
inhabitarüs; and ir¡c¡eased
fo
to the omcial cen$¡s, Mchoacán
I,O|4,02O
started to retum home in resporse
ofthe
in
numbered 939,849
1930, including the Michoacán people who
1929 economic crisis in the United States. In spite
l9
of slow
increase, after
l94q Michoacán ¡anked fifth among the most populous
states in
Mexico, comprising 5.502 the tot¿l ofthe natior! after the Fede¡al Dist¡ict, Jalisc!, Ve¡acruz
and
Puebla In population density, Michoacán (24 inhabitants per square kilometer) ranked
below several states, but it was above the national average of 13 inhabitarús per squa¡e
klomete¡. Between 1940 and 1950 the population of the stare rose from
inlabitants to 1,422,11'l.
i¡
Nl of tlÉrí
1,182,000
were distributed in (094loc¿lities, and 96% ofthese
small centers ofa thousand i¡lEbitants o¡ less, concentrating mo¡e than 5070 ofthe total
population in ranches, rancheriag co¡gregations and ejido s€ttlemer¡ts- This distribution
was a phenomenon very 'tharacte¡istic ofthose economies in which a high perc€ntage
of
the economically active population works in agricultuml activity'.(24)
However, several municipalities ofnorthwest Michoacán in 1921,
1950 underwefi demog¡aphic chariges due
l93q I940 and
to migr*ion and modemiz¿tiol In the thirties
the decline in in¡abit¿nts of Purepero began to be noticed. By 1940 population had
decre¿sed
to a little over 7,000 fom the lE21 ñgura of q000. The decline co¡¡tinued
th¡ough 1950.
At the s¿me time, Churinciq Nuriarári and Santiago
Tangamandapio
populatior¡ as that ofother municipaliúes in the west, indicated iritensive emigration during
the B¡acero program. (25)
In
1950, in the middle
i¡
Michoacán (mnging from the capit¿l city to tiny ranches) in the 105 political
localities
of the period under study, 1920-1970, the¡e were 6,094
deriarcations or mu¡icipalities. As seen in Table 1, nearly halfofthe state population lived
in small localities. There we¡e some 113 municipalities in 1970. Morelia, Uruapar¡
Zamor4 Villa lJtdaJgo, Zititcuaro, Zacapq Pururándiro, I-a Piedad, Jiquilpar! Sahuayo,
Pátzcuaro,
I¡s
Reyes, Angangueo we¡e the most populated municipal seats in the sfate.(26)
20
The state ofMichoacán and its people were ¡egulated by state and municipal laws.
The Political Constitution
of
ofthe Independent and Sovereign State ofMichoacán de Ocampo
1917 was promulgated in Janua¡y
colonel Pascual O¡tiz
of
1918 during the administration
Rubio. The new constih¡tion
prefectu¡es or districts to
givg in abstract, a stronge¡
ofthe e¡gineer and
ended definitively the system
of
status to the a¡¡tonomous municipality.
Originally the Constitution stated in articles 17, 18 and 19 tha¡ The State ofMichoacán d€
Ocampo is comprised of the a¡ea which the Constitution of the United Mexica¡ States
determines. The Free Municipalify is the base ofthe tenito¡ial divisiori ofthe stare. Eve.y
Municipality will maintain the extension a¡rd limits acco¡ding to the Tenitorial DMsion
law. The creation of new Municipalities would
be daermined by the p¡escriptions of tlrc
st¿te Constitution. (27)
The constitution in 1960 stated that Mchoac¿nos a¡e those Mexicans born in the
state, childreri
of Mchoaoán
parents bom out
of the sf¿tg and those rvho have resided
cominuously fo¡ a year in the state.(28) Panicular political events and pa¡ticular laws
impacted directly or indirectly on the migration process, for example when the Almazanista
political followe¡s were repress€d. These and othe¡ factors we¡e prior to the opening ofthe
Bracero Prog¡am in 1942.
AAer a coup d'et,i
General F¡ancisc.
I
n
1920, milit¡ry men ceased national pow€r in the 1940s.
M¡:gica, govemor liom t92O tol922, e*^blished newjudicial districts
and municipalities, heeded agrarian issues and
udertook refoms to the public university.
During his radical administr¿tion there were enacted a Labo¡ Law in I 921 and the Tax Code
of the st¿te in 1922. However, this go!€mo¡ faced local and fede¡al hostilities. At the
deposture of
Mrigic4 Sid¡onio
S¡á¡chez Pineda ended the preceding constitutional period.
2l
He emphasized the Prostitution Regulations
in
1923, as well
in the ¡efo¡ms and
amendments to the Civil Codq the Law on Family Relations, the law conceming the
Elementary Education in the State, and the Law on Familia¡ Inheritance in 1924. Enjoying
a favorable political situatior\ general Enrique R^mÍez (192+1928) promoted
establishment
the
ofthe telephone lines in the state and the begin¡ing ofthe Mexico-Morelia
and Pátzcuaro-Tacámbaro ¡oads. To the credir of Ramírez, the l,aw of Municipal Treasu¡e
in 1926 and a major labor law in 1927 were passed. Due to the Chu¡ch-State conflict, the
C¡istero rebellion irrupted in cent¡al, southwest and nonhwest Michoacán practically in
192'7 .
(29)
As govemor of Michoacán Lázarc Cárdenas (1928-1932) pard more attention to
the social justice issues. Cá¡denas, a general of the
the cessation ofthe Cristero rebellion in the s{ate
ofldle Lands of the
State
in 1930,
arm¡
in 1929. The governor regulated lhe I-¿w
enacted the L¿w
and instituted a prel¡minary St¿tistics Bue¿u
h
encouraged agrarism and sought
of Municipality Income Tax in 1930
1930.
Gabino Váaquez, a lawyer s€cretary as acling govemor while Ca¡denas was out
the state, refo¡med the orya¡iaal
l¿w ofElementary Education in 1931. Láa¿¡o
ended his governmental period en¿cting a Law ofP¡otectiori and Conservation
Sites and Stat€ Pa¡ks
in 1931, and
a Reglamentary Law
of
Cárdenas
ofHisloric¿l
ofPublic Education ofthe State in
1932. By that time schools and a high educational level meant readin& writin& a¡ithmetic
and geography, kriowing about other places and countries, al least the nortl\ rhe United
States.(3o) The importanc€ ofthe United States loomed larger loc¿lly as g¡eater number
Mexicans were repatriated and deponed due to ñnancial
c¡isis. A
sequence
of
of interim
govemors $¡cce€ded fiom 1932 to 1936. In a diff€rent orientation from Cárdenas, general
22
Gildardo Magañ4 a onqtime US schools student arid a former Zapatista chieq protected
farmers' association and regulated the re¿l estáe bureau
running for presidential ca¡didate
in 193ó.
in 1939. His brother Conrado
Magaña died while
Magaña concluded the
canstitutional te¡m, and accomplished the Transit Regulations for the roads ofthe State in
1940.(31)
Migration has a regional context involving multiple facls. Those municipalities in
Mchoaatr which expelled great number of miglants are particularly s¿lient. Most of the
migrarts moved in circuits from one region to another, artd out ofthe satg for instance, to
Guadalqiara or to Mexico
cify. Various municipalities
North. Thereupo4 and due to
s€nt labor force on the way
to tlrc
of
those
such an emigrating circuit stream, several
municipalities ofcentral, north central, riorthwest and southwest ofthe state sta¡ted to r€ach
economic¿lly, socially and
orllrally
farther
non\
beyond the US border. By the means
mmmurica¡ion and linkage ofmigratiorl California drew clos€r to Mchoacári.
23
of
_9
F
a
.z
5
o
e
MapofMichoacan. Regions
li,
(c)
25
hfap of Cicnega de Chapala and Bajro Zamorano
o
I
I
@
Límil. d.
Lln¡t.
d.
z ono
E3!o.lo
dé !¡ u nic¡9io
cobccero
Corr.tcrd6 Povin..lodos
)6
P*redod
Map ofthe Purépecha Region.
I
tr
ts
1]gIog.
Zód^r^ebc . _M
Lrr ¡E D¿ E3r Do. .- - -.
27
Map o¡Michoacán. Railroads and highways
I
---K.
2a
Table
I
IOCALIIIESAI.IDFOPLLTI-ION
Groups
I
to
l¡osliti€s
99
lm 6 2499
250o to 4999
5 000 to 9 999
l0000to 19999
2ocfnlo 29999
30 0OOto 39 999
4O 000 ¡nd me
3,8ó1
1,714
293
162
38
16
7
I
|
I
Tot¿l
6W
100 to 499
500 to 99
fudtrse.
Prqtwu e
Cobieno dcl
Estlo &
PoF¡lation
63.4/o
2E.l%
4.9/o
2.€/o
O.€/o
O.3o/o
O.1o/o
132725
383343
l99 531
U5225
135 131
I 13 013
9.30/o
.9/o
11.ú/o
17.T/o
7.9/o
6.V/o
95 687
23 397
314m
63 Us
100.0
L6dwt
29
t4n7n
P¡!ye.*o 1958
100.0
Notes
l.- Romo.
1988, p 68
2.- Commission of Immigration and Housing of California. 1919. A Community
Survey... Los Angcles Census. 1920.
.- Romo. I 988, p 69
3
4.- Romq /oa ci¿ I¡s Angeles 1920 Census. G. Sanchez. 1993. Bancrof Library.
Manuel Gsmio Collectio4 z-R 2:18
5.- O. Paz.l985, p.l3
6.- Americ¿n Guide Series, 1954. Califomia: A G ide to ,e Gomen Slate. New
York. Lantis et al. 1963 . Calfornia: Land oÍ Contast. Belmo¡t
7.- United States. Department of Comme¡ce. Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth
of the United States: 1940. Populatioq Vol, IL Department of Finance Budget
Diüsio4 Financial and Populatio¡ Rese¡¡ch Section. 1964. California Migration 1955Census
1960.
8.- AHEE. Gobemación. Pasaportes 1943-1955
9.- R CMv€¿ 1996, p l+15 cited A. Cama¡illo, 'chic¡no Urban History: A Study
ofcompton's Banio 1936-197c'' Aztlan,vol 2, no.2 (falll97l): 79-106.
10.I
Ios
Angeles Directo¡ies. 1941. J.D. Weiver. 1980,p. 115.
l.- I¡ntis
et al. 1963,
12.-L. Cnnz e..
A
13.- AMZ Fomento. 1906.
Ochoa. 1986. B¡iseñas. L. GonzÁlez. 1980. Comisión
N¿cion¿l de los SalariosMinimos. MicIúacáL Ciércgq de Chryls. 1963.
14.- A, Octlo€, 1997.
15.- F.
Toor
A
Ochoa 1978.
1934. C. Garcí¿. 1994.
A
Uribe and
A
Ocitca- 199O,p.23-24
ló.- D. Stanilawski. l95q p. 65, 70.
'17.-
Go¡zále1 1980. Ortiz Ybrra and Gonzílez 1980.
18.- Stanilawski, l95Q p 59.
30
19.- Rees. 1961. Stanislawski. 1950,
fuciga. 1981. Uribe a¡d Ochoa 1990. Guer¡ero.
1976
20.- GowÁlez. 1980. Sánchez. Roger Rouse
21.- Secreta¡ía de Obns Publicas. 1960
22.- Secretaría de la Economia Nacional. Censo 1940., p. 9.
23.- Progrdtra de
Gobienp 1958,p.394'1.
24.- Ibid., p. 41
1941,
25.- Stanislawski.Ig50, p. 67. M. Marquez Dulán. 1944, p. 18. R. Avila Treviño.
p.35
26- Prograna de Gobierno del Eslalo
de
[email protected]án 1958. Gobiemo del Estado.
1981.
27.- Consrilúción Políttca del Estdo Libre y Sobaano de Michuain de Ocanpo.
1926.
28.- Constittción Poltiüco del Estdo Libre y Soberano
co¡ sus adiciones y reformas. 1968.
29.- A. Ochoa S€rrano. 1995.
30.-
lbid.
31.- Ibid.
3l
& Miclwain
de Ocanpo
CHAPTER 2
THE DYNAMICS OF WESTERN MEXICAN MIGRATION: MICHOACÁN.
Most ofthe children in the Cienaga de Chapala before the t960s, held an idea of
the North as the place ofno retum. Several generations had been raised
kroüng that men
duri¡g rhe 1920s used to work, not in the local fields, but fa¡ther beyo¡d the border o¡ in
the Bracero program. Fathe$ left taking the bus or the train at night in order not to distu.b
children's sleep- Elde¡s told relatives and acquainta¡c€s stories ofthe migrants who neve¡
cañe back. Thus when the head of household died, panicularly a person with migrating
experie¡ce, the orphan would said to the other children: "my dad didn't die, he went away
to the North."(l)
The migratory phenomenon in Westem Mexico is as ancient as the p¡esenc€ of
Tecoecha and Purépecha ethnic groups
in
MichoacáLn. Tradirional accounts tell
of
Tecoecha moüng fiom the Lake Chapala region to settle in the cent¡al uplands, and the
Chichimecans migrating back and fonh from north central Michoacár to the present Rorida
a¡d Texas states. There we¡e reports of migrants in the Colonial era as well. During the
lSth Certury muleteers f¡om Tangancícuaro in the nonhwestern part ofthe st¿te wenl to
t¡ade in the north ofthe former New Spai4 in what is now New Mexico.(2)
lÑl'aúinez, de
l,P'jarz4 a represent¿tive of the Michoacán Congress, wrote in I 822
about the emigrations that "are constantly and periodically noted in certain regions" where
men moved ab¡oad in search
offood
and bette¡ facilities even in the most ext¡eme weathe¡.
72
For instance, the author pointed out that the t¡ue cause of increasing and decreasing
population in the northwest District ofJiquilpan was due to
an itinerant mass ofpeople, ¡ather in trading or in vagrancy who travel fiom town
to tov/r\
because oftheir interests, because ofthei¡ needs, or because they arc in transit to
other neighboring lands of diverse jurisdictions.(3)
Lejarza noticed that those migrations, pe¡iodic¿l in certain regions, tu¡ned out to
be common in every part
ofthe c¡unr¡y.(4)
Some Cot¡eños --servants, muleteers and traders
of Cotija- who were
very
familiar in the Jiqulpan District, as well in the west segment ofMedco, reached California
by sea during the Gold Rush. Crescencio Garcia, a ¡esident of Cotüa, recorded in 1872
how he came to know mig¡ants working as domestic servants who, afrer working in
Northem Califomia a short time, had leamed to wear other clothes as well as new skills that
allowed them to live decently arid independently there. Several
ofthe Cotüeño
muleteers
¡etumed to achieve a better status in their home rown.(s) Steamer companies naügated
Aom Central and South Americ¿ to Califomi¿, as an old Mexica¡ song expressed
Sailor hoisted a flag
I do not know which ship may be
lfthe one arriving from San Francisco
Ifthe one coming fiom Paaamá (6)
Steañ boats of Mala del Pacifico, Compañía Mexicana Intemacional de vapores
del Pacíñco
y
Golfo de C¿l¡fomi4 Paciñc Mail Steamship Compan¡ and }lamburg
America¡ Packa Company docked in Acapulco, Marzanillo and S¿ri Blas, then oontinued
to
San Diego and San F¡ancisco. Also
following 1868, before railroads ca¡ne on sc€rie, the
l¿ke Chapala and Rio Grande Steam Naügation Cornpany began doing
33
business
in the
Jalisco and Michoacán area. After the steam era in navigation, gasoline engine boats sailed
Íiom Manzanillo to San Diego, San Pedro and San Francisco in the beginning of the 2oth
century.(7)
However, the United States' c.isis of 1873, and civil wa¡s such as the Religionero
revolt
in
1874 had disturbed momentarily the march
of
religious war c¿used th€ destruction by ñre of üllages
Jalisco and Michoacán.
It left
economic devc¡opment. This
in
several a¡eas
of
Guanajuato,
people dead, ¡anches and estates paralyzed everywhere,
while the peasants, so as not to die from hunger, ñlled the ranks ofthe rebels. Other people
who did not join the insunectionists moved either to other villages or out ofthe country to
save their
lives. The governor of Jalisco wrote in May to the general in chief of the founh
diüsion ofoccident that the ¡ebels
have taken new encouragemerit tha¡ks pa¡tly to some favorable encounters to
them although of little importance-.- ¿¡d mainly to the resou¡ces of mer¡ money
and weapons which their di¡ectorios in Mexico, in Mo¡elia a¡d in this city
[Guadalajara] proüde them.(8)
At the
of
same time, the govemor requested s€ctions
federal troops
to
be
deployed along the borders of Michoacár\ so the military forc€s of Jalisco could suppress
"other groups that begin to r¿id in the State."(g) Nevertheless, alliances with Religionero
rebels permitted Porfirio Diaz to gain power
in 1876. I¿ter due to
pacification, Diaz oñcially would be considered
these campaigns
of
'llero of the Peace." Diaz enhanced
foreign investmeds and ¿ccelerated the mod€m;ation of Mexico-
(
l0)
Railroads entered the scene in Central Mexico in the 1880s to connect Manzanillo,
on the Paciffc Coast, and El Paso, on the U¡ifed States border. Traveling began to be
easier a¡d faster. Ramón Sánchez, a member of the administrative staff of the District,
34
recounted his trip from Jiquilpan to Chicago in 1893. Fi¡st c¡ossing rhe Lake Chapala by
steamboat,
it took five and a half days by trai¡ fiom Ocorlán to reach Chicago. Larer
wrote also about his shorter trip from Maravatío, Michoacán,
Texas.(Il)
to
he
San Antonio Bejar,
Generally speaking, during the Porfirio Diaz administration the means
of
transportation were improved.
Otherwise, material conditions in Mexico, such as the development of national
infrastructure, did not match social and economic development. Whil€ a few families held
most of the national income, other sectors of the society went out to look for better
opportu¡rities. Mchoacán was not an exception. Estate owners, who complained about
journeymen refusing to work for then¡ asked for govemment assistance- Several fields
wer€ not cultivated in the Zamora district because ofjoumelmen "going to be rich
iÍ
the
North instead'(I2)
Examples of how Michoacá¡r migrants in Califomia imp¡oved their status cari be
found
in
reco¡ds the beginning
of the 20th
Century documenting va¡ious business
transactions between Purépero people. Jose L. Flores bought a house in the town from
Miguel Ortiz, a resident
oflos
Angeles, Califomia,
was sent by Mr. Rafael Avalos from La Piedad
in 1905. The two hundred peso sale
in railroad express. Mexican
consula¡
rec¿¡ds in Los Angeles registefed seven joumeymen and one farmer f¡om Mchoacá¡ in
l90l
¿nd 1903. A.nother instance refers Benito Canales- a famous rebel in the Madero
revolutior! who after committing a crime in th€ Puruándiro district, had stayed in Los
Angeles in 1909, liüng on Main Street in the downtown area. A process to extradite him
35
took place in the Mexican consulate. Finally, after retuming by himself to Michoacán to
join the ¡evolution, Canales was executed in Zu¡umuato in 1912.(13)
Prior to the violent period in the state, census records in
several cases
l9l0
indicated that
of differences in the number of population were reponed in the west of
Michoacán. ln Tlazazalca, the loss of 563 inhabitants f¡om the data of 1900 ivas due "to
the eñigration to the United States"; while in Chilchota "a thousand indiüduals had left
from the whole municipality to the United States." In the case ofthe Purépero, there was
an inc¡ease
pointed out
in 1910, despite an outflow of the workforce. The mayor of the municipality
in
l9ll
Americ¿ in sea¡ch of
that "more than 2.000 men have emigrated to the United Slates of
work."
The municipality of lxtl¿in, in the Ciénaga d€ Chapal4 had the
identical situation as Purépero.(14)
Society in conlulsion.
Michoacán, like
a large portion of the country,
endured the effect
of
the
contradictions and the inequitable programs of a gover¡mer¡t that protectcd the foreign
investo¡s and ignored urgent political issues. The dictator Porfirio Díaz rei¡forc€d his
power from the c¿pital of the country to the farthest co¡ner of the st¿tes. Tumer wrote
'"The president, the govemor and the political p¡efect are thr€e classes of oficials who
¡epresent the whole powe¡ in the count y; iñ Mexico there is a single governnertal power:
the Executive. The other
two political powers only figure by name and no longer exists in
the mtion either a single position ofpopular election... "(
36
l5)
A¡isteo Mercado, the govemor who ruled Michoacán from
l89l to l9l l,
also
created the administrative and political vice-prefectures in 1906. This system, aside f¡om
being an economic burden fo¡ the state treasüry extended caciquism throughout the statg
as each prefect and vice-prefect began
taking advantage oftheir authority, thus constituting
on afÍliction of the tow¡s they govemed. In order to legitimize the situation, the local
govemnent issued dec¡ees, instituted regulations and laws designed to suppr€ss robbery,
control the ñeedom
of printing and prohibit
a¡tisans and joume].rnen from using
"instruments or irofl tools" outside working hours.
Social and politica.l demonstrations took place in several pa¡ts of the country
between the intemational financial c¡isis in 1907, and the national agricultural crisis
of 1909.
Discontentment came from the popula¡ classes and fiom some govemment sectors in search
of better positions. In 1909, the govemor of Michoacán faced the shortage of com.
Mercado had written Díaz
to i¡form him that the com was worth to five
hectolite¡, an 'txtremely high price"
ill
comparison with that of preüous years. He also
observed 'tertain uneasiness [in the state]
Furthermore, r¡?ges were
ifthe immoderate price rising continues."(16)
not improved. Although local
recommended "the children of Mchoacá¡" not
lads, they did not attend the call. In fact,
due to the crisis
of 1907-1909 the emigration of
of
to the United States expectilg to earn two
pesos per day.
37
govemment
to emigrate looking for fortune in other
Mchoacán worke¡s inc¡eased, either going to the estates
peso pe¡ day, or
pesos the
southeastem Mexico
pesos and
for one
fifty cents or fou¡
Internal workforce flowed in rnore than one di¡ection. Families f¡om Jalisco came
to work in the Cuesta Gallardo's draining project ofthe Ciénega de Chapala. tn the district
of Apatzingán, rice croppers recruited laborers ofthe Bajío Zamorano, even offering them a
wage "between 50 and 75 cents per day," while in Huetamo there were enough workers
who eamed 37 cents. Also in 1910, the United States rejected Mexican workers for
numbe¡ of reasons: the cessation
because
of
a general financial
of operations in the copper mines and railroads,
and
crisis. The contractors transported the unemployed workers
to the bo¡der, where they received
assistance
from the Mexican authorities. But other
Mexica¡s, actiüst laborers and political exiles, retumed
contributed
a
üth
weapons in hand, whe¡e they
to overthrow Porñ¡io Díaz. An industrial and
estat€ ownel who attended
schools in Europe and in the US, Francisco I. Madero, began the national movement. (17)
Made¡ismo and its Plan de San Luis, which addressed poütica.l and agrarian issues,
had immediate repercussion in Michoacán. Small landowners, leaseholders, sharecroppers,
employees of second level, small merchants, afisans, and actiüsts, some of them former
outlaws-- all ofúem were people affected
i¡ their patrimony
by the economic politics
ofthe
Po¡ñrista ¡egime, and pa¡tiaipated in the rebellion. A few leagues from lakes Zirahuén and
Pátzcua¡o, in May of 1911, Salvado¡ Escalante, a la¡downer in bankruptcy and üca-p¡efect
of
Santa Clara del
Cobrg started the mov€ment in Michoacán proclaiming: F¡e€ the vote
and No reelection!
Ifthis politic¿l turbulenc€ were not enough, in June of l9l I there was
an earthquake.
(
18)
The rebellion in the state increased; José Rente¡ía Luvia¡o, a la¡downer in
Huetamo, Marcos V. Méndez, a small businessmar in Peribá¡L Eduardo Gutiérrez, a trader
38
in Puruándiro, and artisan Miguel Regalado in the regio¡ ofZamora followed Made¡o a¡d
his Plan
of
San
Luis. Howeve¡ afier having overthrown the dictator Diaz, the Maderista
winners were not concerned about keeping thei¡ promises regarding agrarian reforms, but
üth
seizing the political
power. Orozquistas and
Zapatistas, including Gutiénez, the
Pantoja brothers, Simón Beltrán, Benito Canales and others disenchanted with Madero
r€belled against
him. Eduardo Gutiérez retumed to the United States where years later
he
died.(19)
Moreover, the coup d'état by Victoriano Huerta caused the fall and death of
Madero in February
over the ñelds
of
of 1913. Meantime, the volcano of Colima erupted,
spewing ashes
southeastem and northwestem Michoacán causi¡g significant crop
destruction. Although precise figures were not available, "a la¡ge numbei' of Michoacán
people continued to leave the state in search of
work. The local and
general govemrnents
persisted their recommendatio¡s against peasants emigation to the US considering this
"detrimenta.l for the interest
ofthe country
d¡ift
and for our workers."(20)
Gertrudis G. S¡á¡chez, a Coahuila chief of the Maderista ga¡rison in a dist¡ict
of
the state ofcuencro, directed the ¡evolution in the region, and as a ¡evolutionary govemor
uniñed rhe rebels against the Huertista
forces. The
B¿lsas basin was the ge¡eral
headquafers a¡d served the armed cMlians fiom Guerrero, Coahuila, Zacatecas and
Mchoacán in advancing to Huetamo a¡d Tacámba¡o. After being defeated Victoriano
Huerta, Sánchez took officc in Morelia, the capital ofthe state. However, another violent
bloody phase continued as struggles occuned between competing local
factions.
Convencionisias, Villistas, Carrancistas, Zapatistas and nonpartisan groups e¡upted
39
everywheÍe. ln the meantime in Eu¡ope, on the other side ofthe Atla¡tic, the First World
War exploded.
On one ha¡d, Villistas under the command of José
Guamjuato and sto¡med into Morelia on Ma¡ch 3
of
I.
P¡ieto came out of
1915, at the same moment that
Cen¡udis G. Sánchez left from Mo¡elia. On the other hand, Alfiedo Elizondo, Joaquin
Amaro and other former subordinate men ofSánchez had been going to battle on the side
of
Obregón. Alvaro Obregón, by then Carranza's ally, defeated Villa in the Bajio during April,
when Sanchez also was executed
in Huetamo.
Eiizondo then retumed
to
govem
Michoacán. As well fomer rebels and other migrants departed from US to Mchoacán.
Parish records
in
1915 recounted migrants f¡om Atacheo, Ixllán, Jacon4 Pajacuarán,
Purépero, Puruá¡diro and Tangancicuaro. According to the records, Atacheans Gab¡iel
Cuadr4 Marcos Mo¡ales a¡rd Jose Dolores Enriquez had been prwiously working in Los
Angeles before retuming. These events occu¡red within the larger political backdrop
ofthe
US recognition ofthe rational government of Cananza.(Zl)
The govemor pursued the destruction of the Villista guefiillas around Tancítaro
and in the B¿jio Zamorano, although without much succ€ss.
joi¡ed the Felicista factioq
heeded
Felicistas had economic support
fom
In 1916, Michoacih Villistas
by Félix Díaz, Porfiro Díaz's nephew. Michoacán
ent¡epreneurs and conse¡vative sectors in the United
States, apart fiom their lrade in ¡ice and hides in the Barra de Zacatula for weapons in
California.(22) Meanwhile Elizondo organized lhe elections for repres€ntatives to the
Constituent Congress. Over all, Elizondo faced an economic and social crisis which
brought devaluatioq circulation of wonhless money, shortage of co¡rL sc¿nda.lous price
40
inflation ofbasic anicles ofconsumption, various calamities in the countryside, outbreaks
of
typhus and social agitation.
ln 1916 and 1917, the distu¡bed social and economia conditions compelled
traders
small
in bankruptcy, downwardly mobile farmers, journeymer¡ bl¡reaucrats, artisans,
carpenterc, mechanic, impressers, female servants
ard exiles to le¿ve for north of the
border. Fo¡ their protection while travelin& migrants ¡equested oficial certiñaates that did
not discuss participation in active political matters, or state that they were "emigrating to
the United States in search
ofa bett€rjob to support their family".(23)
After the passage and enactment of the General Constitutioí in F€bruary of
I 9 I 7,
Elizondo's govemmental administration came to an end. Pascual Oniz Rubio took office
from Rente¡ia Luviano after being elected. In
l9l8
there were droughts, leading to large
losses ofcrops and livestock; the sf,€ct¡um of famine appeared in spite
subsidized
com. As
ofthe imponed ¿nd
a ¡esult social unrest i¡cre¿sed in the countryside. Aside, the Spanish
influe¡za c¿used population loss in central and westem Mexico. As the United Sates
entered World War
I,
Braceros crossed the border attracted by jobs and high salaries.
Michoacans continued migratirig to the North in altemative seasons. In addition, several
local rebels were granted amnesty from the govenment. Several of those ¡evolutiona¡ies
left for the North.(24)
In July 1918, Mariano de Jesús ToneE
a
joumalist from Mo¡elia described pa¡ts
ofMichoacán as desolate and infested with persistent rebels, e.g. Jesús Sinto¡a in the west,
Gordiano Guzmán in the south. Inés Ga¡cía Chávez was reported "leaving in wery place he
pass€s, a
trail ofblood a¡d an atmosphere of terror and fright." The joumalist com¡nented
4l
on the tragic scene of Villa Morelos set on fire and destroyed, and described the inhabitants
of Puruándiro and La Piedad in constant ñight. Tones provided voice to the popular
scntiment of govemmental impotencg despite government reassurances
of cofltrol a¡d
stability;
there is no ¡evolutiorL and the trains are shot and ¡he communications constantly
offl There is no revolution a¡d the countryside properties are ¡ans¿cked and not
labored; It has not remained either a g¡ain ofcom, neither an animal of farm, and
the desened and uninhabited ranches, and... there is no revolutionl(25)
Michoacán in transition.
Spanish influerua, among other f¿ctors, ended with the actiüry
ofthe Michoacán
main ¡ebels between 1918 and 1919. The disastrous financia.l situation subdued, but the
conflict for power inc¡eased. Govemo¡ Ortiz Rubio followed the Plan of Agua Prieta to
overtkow president Carranza in May 1920. A new polirical era statted in Mexico. Láza¡o
Cá¡denas, an Agua Prietist4
took in charge of military maneuvers, and conciliated
govemmental business in the state. After an impugned electior! Francisco J. Múgica took
office as govemor ofMicho¿cán in Septemb€r, 1920.
There were 939,849 people in Michoaaín
in 1921 ac€ording to the official census,
therefore 52,000 inhabitants less than the 991,880 register€d in 1910. Duc to the busi¡ess
depression in the United States, according
retumed in
l92l
to Mexican Statistics, more Meúcan ernigtants
than leaüng i¡ste3d. Otherwise, a local newspaper
in
1920, the snnual
192l-1922 rwofi of the govemor and church ¡e¡ords included referenc€s on migfants out
ofthe state. A great numbe¡ olMichoacans werc working eithe¡ i¡ US Arms, facto¡ies and
railroads, for the petroleum companies in Veracruz and Tamaulipas or in Mexico City.
42
Migrants who head€d north legally, applied
in the US
consulates
of
Guadalajara,
Aguascalientes, and San Luis Potosi, paying two pesos per persor¡ and proving a minimum
ofliteracy.(26)
A
sample
of the 1920-1923 consular
and passport records display applicants
mainly from small cities as Zafiora and Uruapan, the mining town
of Angaflgueo,
Zacapu where the Noriega Company promoted a desiacation p¡oject; as
and
\tell migrants llom
Eronga¡ícuaro, zinapécuaro, Sa¡ta Ana May4 Maravatío, Purépero, Penjamillo, La Piedad,
Panindicua¡o and Pu¡uándiro applied.(27) However, changes in U.S. immigration policy
made Mexican migration more difficult. Notwithst¿nding thei¡ own penurious, illegal
migrants challenged problems
üth
Coyotes who offe¡ed thei¡ services to facilitate crossing
the border. A norñction account pointed that after getting offthe train,
Coyotes directed Braceros to an unsa¡itary lodging, speculating in combination
with the owner ofit. In compücity with money exchargers, the Coyotes obtained
a percentage from the amount of gold pesos that the laborers gave in order to
acquire dollars. They made the workers remain locked in their rooms fo¡cing them
to stay there. As worker traffic was their business, collecting from four to twenty
dollars for person, coyores tried their üctims not to g.ieve either separate. They
walked üth the Braceros at night to the chosen ford where coyoles abandoned
them; o¡ y when in acco¡d üth the Ame¡ican Coyotes, they prompted the
Braceros cross the rive¡. It happened ftequently that the Border Patrol shot
sometimes children and wome¡, a¡td the Btac€ros could not even perceive their
siblings due to the darkness and because the curent dragged the bodies. Once
passing the River, the laborers were exploited by the North Ame¡ican coyotes
who took them also into unsanita¡y places, mistreating then\ they hide them of
the authorities, and took as much money as they were able to fiom the Brac€ros,
whom coyotes proüded offalse o¡ useless documents with and put them in hands
ofthe Companies that agreed with such coyotes.(28)
In Michoacií, political i¡stability ma¡ked the e¿rly part of the 20th Century
Govemor Múgic¿" due his radical politics, had conflicts
43
üth
the clergy, politicians, farmers.
A¡d without the suppon of p.esident Obregón he was ousted fiom omce. The migrant
farmer and protester, Pablo l¿nderos, exemplified the Zamora district rebels. Múgica was
forced from office in 1922. The local representative Sid¡onio Sánchez pineda took office
and faced the military rebellion headed by Er¡¡ique Est¡ada in westem
Mexico. T\¡¡o thirds
of the military forces defied Obregón's ¡egime. Est¡adista rebels fought in Numa¡án and
Palo Ve¡de in January
of
1924
to
take Morelia momentary. No popular either peasant
presence supported the dissident movement which was sho¡t-lived. Under different
conditions, peasant participation in the C¡ist€¡o revolt resulting from the chu¡ch-state
conflict in 1926 was widespreading.(29)
However, rwolutions and agarian struggles impelled mur and women to codinue
going nonhwards. Ori the one hand, ifl 1925 a large number of passpof applications were
issued
for petitioners from Morelia, Jacona" Los Reyes, Yurécuaro, Cojumatlán, San
José
de Graci4 Pátzcuaro, TaretarL Tlalpujahua; [atu¡e came to sc€ne also in floods in la
Ciénega de Chapala and along the Lerma River, no¡th
ofthe
state, to drive migants out
Michoac.íLn. On the othe¡ hand, Mexican gove¡nmont appointed
of
in 1926 'hot repat¡iating
Mexican laborer¡ as preüously did fo¡ thousand of then¡ upon being jobless and in an
aflictive situation in the United States, due to many of them have ¡etumed later to the
neighboring country without shoüng grievance.'
Besides farm jobs
p0)
in Californi4 Texai and the Mdwest, the mines of coal in
Colorado, the Great I¿kes indust¡ies had also become destinations for Mchoacán wo¡ke¡s.
By the4 roads and highways were improved in c$tral Meúco. Highways connected most
ofthe important settlements. The trucks have spelled out definitively the mule trains of
u
Cotij4 Purépero, Churincio, Zináparo and Chilchota. Many mule-drivers "accustomed to
movement and to stratge places, went to Califomia to work in the steel plants ofTorrance,
Califomia or Pittsburg." Peasants and artisans went working on flelds, and
in
the
const¡uction industry; other muleleers got work laying tracks eithe¡ altemating with the
ag¡icultural activities. In Los A¡geles, Mexican wome¡ and me¡ were employed in a
va¡iety of industries; as well
tie city
housed rail¡oad workers and seasonal unemployed
of
Salvador Sotelo Arevalo insights an example of
agricultural laborers.(3 1 )
The persorial experience
mig¡ation dynamics. Bom in a small üllage which was involved
still a teenager depa¡ted f¡om Zamota
Á
i¡
agra¡ian co¡flicts, Sotelo
1922, accompa¡ied by some relatives. One
of
them had preüously been in the United States. After payLtg an eight dollar ta)q he passed
to labo¡ i¡ the fields of San José Califomia. Later he worked in the Southem Pacific
R¿ilroad. With his first eamings, he paid off the mortgage on his mother's house in
Mchoacár¡ the mortgage that had been taken out to pay his fare and the mig¡ation tax to
the
U.S. F¡om an acquaintance
he knew his brothe¡'s address in
I¡s
Angeles. His brother,
Cipriano, had emigrated when the Revolution ofMadero began. Salvador met his brother,
a¡d moved to
In
I¡s
Angeles, where otie¡ ¡elatives ofhis lived.
¡esponse
to a US
govemmental prohibitioq the smuggling
of liquors
was
developed. Cipriano was devoted to that illegal actiüty and i¡üted him to become
a
smuggle¡. He detested such idea, and tried to go out ofhis side. Since his brother had been
a bricklayer
in Mexico City and in Zamor4 he better endeavored his former occupation.
Both of them looked lo¡ work in the constructions, and the young leamed the masoíry.
45
Each one eamed eight dolla¡s per day. Their wages also allowed them to buy a car, and a
lot in Maravilla Pa¡k. Salvador attended night school in order to leam English. Due his
hard working, he sent money to his sisters, a
üdow with three children and another who
lived in Guadalajara with two sons. Salvador stayed for four years in Los Angeles, and
ñnally returned to Zamora.(32)
Although not all the migrants retumed homc, a general financial crisis in the
United States affected Mexic¿r¡s both sides
Severe conditions took back thousand
ofthe
borde¡ for several years after 1929.
of migrants to the seflding regions. Michoacán
reaovered population by repatriating Michoacars who were depo.ted, othe¡s were attracted
by the Ca¡denista agrarian reform. The state population mainly made their living from
agriculture. Ac{ording to the census, 1,048,381 people lived in the state in 1930. The
population active ecoromically represented 327,996 inhabitants (20.66% Aom the total),
259,868 people -a ó.37 pe¡ cent--, devoted to agricultural activities, ¿nd 53,698 inhabitants
(5.127") were ejidatarios.(3 3)
Moreover, i¡habitants kept on &n irregular distributing on the st¿te. Villages
revealed demographic loss such as the former C¡istero Coalcomá¡ and
Pajacua¡¡íúL Purepero, Puruándiro,
Coti4
J¿cor4
Villa Victoria, Villachuato and Zamo¡4 but d¡amatioally
decre¡sed in Churincio, Jiquilpa4 Sahuayo and Tang,amandapio; on the contrary, peasants
moved from ranches to municipality heads in Angañacutiro, ApatzingárL Chavinda, Cheií¡f
Ecuandu¡eo, IxtlárL Tanga¡cícua¡o, Tanhuato, Tocumbo, Uruapar! Villama¡, Vista
He¡mosa, Yurécuaro a¡d Zináparo; while Chilchota, and Panindicuaro did not modiry their
number of population
in 1930. Nevefheless, migratory flow continued ci¡culating out of
46
the northwestem. On June 26, 1933, the mayor of Zamora communicated the General
Secretary of Michoacán that several laborers "have lefl recently from this region
to
the
United States, by being apprised there is work, according to thei¡ info¡mation "(34)
Beyond demog¡aphic and migration issues, new regimes made economic and
political adjusiments in the country. On the one hand, the fede¡al govemment destined
more expenditure in welfare, on the other hand, Plutarco Elias Calles, the maximum head
the Agua Prieta group, founded the Revolutionary National Pa¡ty (PNR)
of
in 1929 to control
the military men. The peasant sector was a majority in riame but not in the taking of
decisions. Sequel ofthe Cristero revolt and ofthat of 1932, a¡tisans and small landowners
suppo¡ted the Sina¡quista movement in the capital of the statg and at east and west
Michoacán
in
search
of
establishing a nationalistic order
ir
1937. Former
candidate
Almazán headed political opposition in 1940, and his followe¡s were repressed, several
them retreated
i¡ l,os Angeles. By
of
of
then, Cárdenas was the president who emphasized the
practic€ of the agrarian reform nation
wide. ln fact, there were problems in allotment of
lands and consequently conflicts of land tenure, as well the exe¡cise of the local power
did.(3s)
National Unity and Develoomenr in Srabilitv
World Wa¡
II
began
in 1939.
Mexicans and child¡en
formerly deponed who retumed U.S., took pa¡t in
it
of Mchoacans,
those
since 1942. As well Mexica¡
govemnent decla¡ed war to Axis Berlin-Tokio-Rom4 and implemented a national uriity
plan unde¡ a continuos cent¡alized model. The year 1942 marks th€ beginning of the
47
Bracero Program, a labo¡ contract, which ended in 1964, and which resulted in an increased
flow ofMichoacán migration to US. The Brace¡o P¡og¡am, agreed to by the United Srates
and Mexican governments through the Second Wo¡ld Wa¡ and the Korean War impacted
the lives ofpeople.
The acceleration of economic development in Texas, Colorado, Arizona and
Califomia and the increasing population pressure from rurd areas in Mexico, reflected in
high figures of Mexican migrants in the United States. A groüng ¡umber of Mexica¡
Braceros and mig¡ants tended chiefly to settle in California. The Federal Dstrict, Michoaoír¡
Guanajuatq DuraJEo, Chihuahua and Zacatec€s proüded mor€ Brac€ros than any other states.
According to govemmental statistics, 5,045 Michoacán braceros ¡etumed ftom US in 1947,
meanwhle 10,035 left, in next year, 460 retumed a¡d 550 were le¿üng. Fu¡thermore
demographic records
of
1950 showed that almost
hallofthe
Michoacán B¡aceros were under
6fteen.(36)
Workers signed up for cont¡acts in lrapuato, Empalme, Tlaxcal4 Guadalajara,
Mexico City and Uruapan. P¡ior to Uruapan, Irapuato rras mainly Mchoacán Brac€ros
departure. Contractors adüsed Mchoacán B¡aceros to decla¡e different geographic origir¡
due
to quot4 only wh€n aniving to the fields in the US were to
s¿y the
truth in c¿se of an
emergency- Several Michoaoín migrants were not included in the Bracero Program (37)
Mgrants depaned by lrain or, as soon as roads were ready during the dry seasorL
by bus. Some Michoacán migrants in the 1920s had used to sail from Manzanillo to
Califomia. But usually they traveled by train or on foot. Years later departure was possible
by plane. Other Michoac¿nos took advantage ofthe modem tramportation means and the
48
primitive one. A migrant liom Coalcomán accou¡ted that in 1942 he fl€w Íiom his town to
Colima, took a train to Guadalajara and Santa Ana, Sonora, and then t¡aveled to Puerto
Peñasco by bus
to continue by train to Mexicali. He then walked Íiom Mexicali to Los
Angeles crossing the desert illegally th¡ough Conchella.(38) Ove¡ and above, traveling
tumed to be faster, and flights became common in Mexico after WW
IL
Guadalajara
airport was ope¡ed to business in the 1950s.
In Apdl of 1947 -during the
anti-aftosa canpaigrL when hoof-and-mouth dec€as€
afected livestock, and consequendy ag¡icu1tura1 actiüües--, the recruit ofB¡ac€¡os occurred
Uruapan.
Ir
i¡
order to qualiry, the applic¿rts shoúd be under age forty five, Mchoac€nos, not
ejidatarios, being in perfect health, residents in municipalities ofthe state. Although the Bracero
P¡ogram was rtot officially oriented on ejidata¡ios, restless eoonomic, political and social
conditions compelled ejidatariog as well small l¿ndowners arid joumelmen
to
leave the
countryside. (39)
In the nonhwest of Mchoaoán and under nomal weath€r peasants lifted two haryests
in a ye3¡. In t¡e rainy seasor! pov€rty accsntuated partic'ulady on the joumeymgn whose income
was low dwing the 1940s. A.lso in time
of sowing, the
peasants needed
to borrow Aom the
Ejidal Bank or from a moneylender certain amount of seed o¡ cash ¡etu¡ning them in the
crops, plus the
p¡ofit.
Seve¡al peasants emigated to the U.S. in sea¡ch
ofwork in order to
pay the debts. Everi there were ü¡ri€rous abardoned parcelg which were not gr¿nted to whom
could wo¡k them because ofpolitical re¿so¡s.(40)
During the cominuation
of
agrarisr4 üolerce came out
Homicides ranged thi¡d top in eight m¿in causes ofde¿¡h
49
ir
to
úllages and fields.
the s{ate from 1940
to 1950. It wa$
a time when caciques, who seized political and economic powet set teÍor in ra¡ches
üllages. Under
pressure, opposite people, those
and
who committed crimes, small traders in
bartruptcy and landowners had to emigrate eithe¡ to the cities or to U.S. In general, p¡ivate
property was not respected. Villages, which recovered ha¡dly Íiom the destruction of
revolutions, decayed completely.(41)
Nature displayed itself once again in the state. An earthquak€ occuÍed
i¡
1941 in the
Coalcomán a¡ea. As well the Siena or Meseta Purépecha was damaged by the Pa¡icutin volcano
in February of 1943 up to 1952 when the volc¿no stopped to e¡uption. lts ashes affected
agriculture in several parts of Michoaoír¡ as far as in Nuñarári and in Sa¡ José de Gracia.
Volcaneños (men and women ofthe volcano rcgio4 as they were popularly called) had to leave
hoñe and he3d to other places. The municipalities ofNuma¡án and Pe¡ibán had population loss
due the migration ofBrac€ros
to the United States. Peasant families moved to other points of
the statg to Jalisco, Guanajuato, and Mexico City or they en¡olled as braceros.
Michoacán was the top s€cond state
in sendirig braceros. Mo¡eüa
b€c¿me
a¡
In
1943,
att¡active
population city, and a dep¿¡tu¡e point for migrdts to the United Stat€s.(42)
On the one han4 a consequence of the World Wa¡ II arid the Kore¿ wa¡ was that
Mchoaca¡s and childreri ofMchoacaru, who avoided consc¡iptioq retumed to the state. On
the other hand, those wa¡s brought economic adl,antages
to
several üllages; artisans supplied
more than eve¡ the U.S. markets with their products. Likev,¡ise thousand of p€ople left fo¡ the
U¡ited States in orde¡ to look for a better stand¡¡d of living and ¡etuming home provided of
enough mears
According
to work for their own. Pafs of the state achieved differenc€s in population.
to the
1950 census Tanhuato, Tlalpujahua and \4llama¡ municipalities had
50
conside¡able loss
of populatior! while Uruapar! Zacapt, Zamor4 ziniparo ütd zitá@aro
increased theirs.(43)
A la¡ge number ofmigrants liom Cuanajuato, Jalisco and Michoacár kept on leaving
North.
Some sectors
of Mexic¿n society disagreed this worker migration. ln June of
194ó,
former president Lázaro Cá¡denas considered the exit of Mexic¿n laborers as "a damage to o¡¡r
countÍ¡y''. Neverth€less, a tot^ of 4,395,622 Mexican braceros went beyond the border from
1951 ro the end
ofthe Bracero Program in 1964. 567,514 (12.91 pe¡cent olthe total) left ñom
Gua¡ajuato, 465,396 (10jq/o) from Jalisco and 463,811 (10.55%) of Michoac.án origin. A
resident ofthe Ciénega de Chapala noticed in those years
of people never retumed home. Hundred of women remained long time
crying the s€pa¡ation of thei¡ husbands. Several pa¡ents were left without child¡en.
Thousand
Many children never saw their farhers again or never met them.(44)
In 1950 there were 25,791,000 inhabitants in Mexico, 28.9 percent ofthe popdation
were
rggiserd omcially u¡ban people (considering them i¡
more) wlrile
7l.l
p€rcent were considercd
a rir¡clei
ru¡al. In 1960, the
inhabitants indicaled ó5.5 f,erc€nt ru¡al while 37.5yo
tendency
úban. In
population diminished, 54.7o/o f"om 48 million a¡d fraction.
In
often thousand p€ople o¡
of tIre
34,923,129
1970 relatively the rural
1970, the ¡esidents
of lüger
tow¡s than ten thousand irhabit¿nts each rcpres€nted the 45.3 percerit urbanized. In
a
it was obüous this attracting
it
centralized development model
and c€ntralized tendency, and
was v€ry evident that Mexican population grew dra¡natic¿ y in the se¿t heads taking in p€asa¡ts
and
wo¡k fo¡ce fom the countryside.(45)
Statistics indicated 4,823,901 people in prirnary activities in 1950, mostly the
ffth par
of the total populalion (18-7lo| who in 1960 w€¡e E143,540, but not in l97q when number
5l
lowered to 5,103,517 due the lack of incentives to retain püs¿nts
i¡
the fields ¿¡d intensive
migration. ln that dlnamics, the transfonnation and constructio¡ industfies, and third actiüties
at1lacted,224,51,2 people to the foremost Mexican cities
in 1950, the worke¡ attraction increased
to reach 408,279 in 1960, and 571,006 in 1970.(46)
Mexico City, Guada.lajara and Morelia co¡c€ntmted mo¡e population Íiom the
displacement
of
peas¿nts magnetized
by the cha¡m of living in metropolis during
development in stability. On the other ha¡d, workers, employees and domestic servants left
the
liom
the cities for the Nortb rega¡dless of the Bracero Program ending in 1964. Aíie¡ the peso
dwaluatior¡ several people were disappointed ofthe oficiat and pateríalistic promise not kept,
and headed the fields and cities
ofU.S. A Mexican
song expresxd
I'm tired and bored, marnma
ofüving so in srch misfortune;
why dont we sell everything we have
and go to the other side [USA].(47)
In the demographic ooq main cities attracted and expelled population. In ¡ound
figures, Mexico City in 1950 mosfly duplicated its preüous population
of
19,10
with 3,137,599
inhabitants. In 1960 the city i¡creased its population to five millior\ and to 8,700,000 i¡habita¡ts
i¡
1970. Cuadalajara grew
fom,l4q500 i¡habitants in
1950
to locate 851,155 inhabitants in
l9ó0, and 1,491,085 in 1970. Under different conditions, less attractiorL Morelia stretched out
h¿¡dly ó3,245 in 1950,
a¡d 100,828 in
1
0, arid ló1,040 inhabitants in 1970.(48)
Focusing on a smaller dimensior¡ including head of municipalities in the Ciénega
de Chapal4 the Bajio Zamorano at
a[
as central, northe¿st ard southwest MichoacfuL
comprised a constanl back and fo.th movement ofpopulation. Droughts between 1950 a¡d
52
1954, shortage
ofcom in 1951, the peso devaluation in 1954, floods
i¡
1955 lorced Michoaca¡s
going out ñom several pans of the state. As well Acuitziq Brise¡as, Chilchoh, Chiriicuil4
Coalcomán, Contepec, Jiquilpar\ Madero, Morelos, Tingambato, Tinguindin, Tlalpujahua
decreased their population between 1960 and 1970.
After Ko¡ea War ended, Operation
Wetback deported undocumented Braceros in 1954. Nevertheiess men and women f¡om
Michoacán en¡olled in the industrialization process in the US, where labore¡s were needed
in the ports, railroads, ñelds and factories. lmmigration Reform laws implemented during
the late 1960's changed or intensified preüous mig¡ation pattems. Seasonal migration
(Golondrino) tumed to be no¡mal in lvfichoacán. These Golond¡inos eluded also to spend the
winter in the U.S. It is when 'Northemerf' begari to flow to their homeland.(49)
Circuit and cycle migration kept on establishing networks. The Serrano family is
an example
ofit.
From Jalisco origirL formerly a servart muleteer, the head of household
worked in Veracruz, and in the desicc¿tion labor in the Ciénega of Chapala
ir
1910 as well
Manied in 1921 to a low level employee's daughter, he settled down in Briseñas, an
impo¡tant estate located in a migant attraction and expulsion region as well. Eight children
were raised, one ofthem died in the very early
the const¡uction
chldhood. The he¿d ofthe family worked in
ofthe national highway due the floods in 1935. He bought a small land
and some cattle and raised
it in the Cienega. He became an ejidatario during the Cárdenas
Agrarian Reform. Tragically died in 19,14, as well as his elder son in 1945. The widower
supported the family and took care
ofthe
lands with her male children's assistance.
Sirce the deponatiors and [email protected], the elders Ser¡ano children h€ard about
people retuming Íiom the North. Their irn¡nediate a¡d personal contact with the migratory
53
flow to United States started in 1958 when the minor daughter, engag€ to a migrant, left for
Irs
Argetes. The youngest motivated h€r sibliqs to enigrate ñom lvfchoacán. Her
widow si*er and two brothers (who had been prwiously Brac€ros) emigrafed in the early
1960s. While üving
in Ers Ios Angeleq the Serano rrcmeri wortcd in tailoring in the
downtown area and m€ri in fictories in South ceotrsl.
A
s€ao¡d [email protected]€rEtion of th€ &mily
from Mchoacán continued the migratory chain irl the aircuit to Los Angeles.
54
Notes
l.-
Interview with Juana Ser¡ano Lomeli conducted by Alvaro Ochoa Senano,
Briseñas, Michoacán. May 22, 1912. Interview with Roberto Chóvez Aguilera, ComptorL
Cz. Oúobet 22, 1994.
2.- Ochoa and Sánchez. 1985. Uribe and Ochoa. 1990. Lumholtz. 1902,1Í: 368
3.-
MartiiL, deLej za. 1824.
4.- Ibid.
5.- C. Ga¡cia. 1996, p.241.
6.- L. C¡árdenas. 1972-1973,1. H. VáEAtl€z Santaü. 1924. The Spanish:
bande¡a la mira/ no se que vapor serl si será de San Fra¡cisco/ si seni de Panamá."
"lzó
7.- C. García. 1996, p.253. UBC Bancroft. xF1203. M8 v.2:6. J. Hermosa. 1857,
p 58. A. Ochoa. 1978
8.- A. Ochoa Se¡rano. 1995. T¡es co¡ridos. El Progresista. Mo¡eli4 November
23, 187 4, r efer erc€ on migration
9.-
Ibid
to - Ibid
I
l.- R.
Sánchez. 1893. R. Sanchez. 1894
12.-
AMZ Cobemación 1907,
13.-
AMz Gobernación.
e)(p.
1905. Papeles sueltos. AHEE. Relaciones.
l9l l, exp. 11.
SRE-GE, 18-23-27, 18-23-158, 9-9-3.
14.- U¡ibe and Ochoa. 1990, p 32
15.- A Ocho¿ Ser¿no. 1989. Tumer, J. K.
H. Kerr and Co.
16.- APD. Conespo¡denciaDíaa Morelia July 14, [email protected]
l9ll.
L 34 C 23 D
55
Botfutous Mexico. Chicago: C.
112'16. Adsteo Mercado
to Porñrio
17.- A. Ochoa Senano. 1986. E. Cusi.1956, p'77, 108,257,2ó9. Joumey men
from Chavinda, Jaripo, Guaracha, Chapala; muleteers from the Once Pueblos, Purépero,
Cotija, Chilchota and from other places.
18.- M.J. Torfes. 1905-1915.
ll
19.- A. Ochoa SeÍano. 1995
20.- A¡¿lZ. Gobemación. 1913.
Per¡ó<lico
Ofc¡al de Mich<ncán Moreh4
October 16, 1913.
21.- A. Ochoa Serrano. 1989. AMZ Gobernación, 1916.
Matrimonial 1915, Atacheo, IxtlárL Pu¡ép€ro and Tangancícua¡o.
AP Información
22.- A. Ochoa Senano. 1989. SRE-GE l1-6-133, 17-16-214. E. Cusi. 1969, p
224-225
23.- AMZ Justicia 1917, exp 31.
24.- Uribe and Ochoa. 1990. AMZ Estado 1918, exp.
I 3 . AGN Gobemacion. Periodo Revolucionario C 28 I exp. 47
7
P. Ortiz Rubio. 1919, p
25.- El Ceñinela. Morelia" July 28, 1918. 2". Epoct! Num. 45.
26.- AMZ Estado 1921, exp 17. ACE, XXXVIII Legislatura, I¡forme
de1
Gobemado¡ Inte¡ino Sidronio Sánchez Pineda September 16,1922, p 44. Deparlaneito de
la Estadística Nacional, 1925. Ceriso 1921. Mchoac.{n. AP Coalcorni¡¡, Jacon4 Jiquilpa4
Puépero, Tangancíor¡rq Znápa¡o. El Clarinetg Morelia, March. 24, 1920, I:3. P. Taylor.
1930,l: 250.
27.- SRE-GE 36-9-87, SRE-P 1920, AMZ Estado 1921, exp l7).
28.
A\,12, Gobem¿ción 1924, exp 29. lnte¡view with Leoügildo Hernindez,
Uruapar4 Michoacrá4 October 21, 1995, conducted by Alvaro Ochoa Se¡rano
29.- Moffoy. 1924. A. Ochoa Senano 1995. AMZ Estado, 1918, exp 7
de
30.- SRE-P 7925. Jalisco Rürdl. Guadalajara. Novembet 1926,WL 8. EI Correo
15, 1926. Ihtadística Nqc¡otra¿ México, November 15, 1926.11 43.
fuíord,M.üch
31.- Stanilawski.1g50, p 67. AlvlZ Ayuntamiento. Ce¡tificates 1927-1928. P.
Taylot. 7930,1:2&.
32.- S. Sotelo. 1996, p 29-32
56
S.
33.- Taylor. 1930. Secreta¡ía de la Economía Nacional. 1930. Censo de Població4
Michoac.á¡. Depanamento de Estadistica Nacional. I 93 I . Atgunas Estadísticas de Michoacán.
Secretaria de la Economia Nacional. Censo Ejidal de 1935.
.
34.- Secretaria de la Economía Nacional. 1930. Censo de Población, Mchoacán.
AMZ Ayuntamiento 1933. AP Purépero, 1930 J.C. Gilbert.l934. United States.
Depa¡trnent ofCommerce. Bureau ofthe Census. 1943, vol. IL
35.- J. W. Wilke. 1973, p.33-35. La Opnúon.
36.- Secretaria del T¡abajo y Previsión Social. 1946. Gamio. 1969, p 35 Secretaria
de Economía. Cornpendio Estadistico 1950, p 59. Progratna de Gob¡en¡o de Mchoaain.
1958
37.- The Gua¡ajuato goverünent complained Mchoacán authorities to endorse
certificates of residency to Guanajuato p€ople who planned to l€ave for the United States.
AHEE Pasaportes y Visas, 1943-1944. Interview with Jesús Negrete. Atacheo, Mich.,
Dec€mber 13, 1996 conducted by Alva¡o Ochoa Ser¡ano.
38.- Interview with Jesús Negrete. Atacheo, Mich. Interview with Jesús
Covam¡bias- Montebello, Ca. October 14, 1994 conducted by Alvaro Ochoa Serrano.
Secretaría de la Economia Nacional. 1940. C€nso de Michoaoáq p. 9.
39.- L. Gonzilez. 1974, p 219. Alfonso Andrade Collection. 1947.
40.- Gali¡do. 1943, p. 31. Proyecto Co¡r¿les. G. Serra¡o Gómez. 1943, p 35
R Caslilo G¿rza. 1941, p 8-10.
Galindo. 1943, p. 6. S€cr€tada de Economia.
Cot Wdio Esdístico 1950, and C€nso de 1950- Mchoac.án. In late 1930s homicides had
classifed fouth after diarrhea, pnannonia and malaria. Secra¿¡ia de Economia. Comperdio
Estadistico 1941,p20.
41.-
42.- N#8, Pasaportes y üsas, 19,14. Marquez DuráÍ\ 19,14, p 18. Re€s. 1961. L.
Gonzdez. 1974. Mo.ico. Seúretarí¿ del Tr¿bajo. 1946, p 60i I
43.- Secretari¿ de Economía 1950. Co¡npetdio
1952. Censo Mchoac.án.
,14.- J.
R Ga¡cia. 1978, p 42. L.
E¡dí*ico.
C¿úde¡,as. 1972-1973 .
1974, p. 137-139
57
Secreta¡ia de Economía.
Il: 2oi
. J.
Gudiño Villanueva.
45.- Secr€taría de la Ec¡nomia Nacional. 1941. Secreta¡ía de Industria y Comercio.
1960, Compendio Esl¿distico. Secraa¡ía de I¡dur¡ia y Comercio. 1971, Comperdio
Afddísái¿o. Instituto Nacioral de Estadística, Geog¡afia e Infor¡üiúic¿. (INEGI), 1985, L
46.- INEGI. 1985, l.
47.-
Ibid.
Secreta¡ía de Programación
Esldistius Btisius &l
kqlo
ds
Micfuwtiü. I¡s
y
Pres¡puesto (SPP). 1980. Manlql dc
que wdven Herma¡¡as Padilla Song.
48.- INEGI. 1985,I. SPP. 1980.
49.- AHEE Pasapones y visas 1955. AP ¡ecords f¡om 1940s to 1960s. J.
Duatrd-f992. J. Ilemínde¿ 1985. A Ochoa" 1978. E. G¿lv€z Morf€s. 1959. El Sentinienfo.
Apatzingárf SQt€rnb€r l, 1957 . Ante¡p- Sahu¿yq November 27 , 196ó,\:21
58
CHAPTER 3
MICHOACAN PEASANTS AND LOS ANGELES WORKERS,
The founh anicle
of the
Michoacans are thosei l.-Bom
residents in it.
[.- By
parents have not
Michoacán constitution enacted
in
1918 lated that
in any part of the state, of Mexican parents, natives or
chancg bom out ofthe satg of Michoac.án pa¡ents, provided that
lo$ their
according to pa¡ticula¡ laws.
tie
lll.-
Mexicans who are íaturalized in the state
lV-- Mexicans with
no less than a year ofresidenc€ in the state.
state residency.
The founh anicle ammended
in
l
0 stipulated tbat 'Michoacanos a¡e those Mexicar¡s bom
in the tate, childreo of Michoacán parents bom out
ofthe slatg
and those who have resided
continuously fo. a y€ar in the state.'(l)
The constitution provided both legal and civil definitions. However, Michoacanism,
regionalism or matriotism as a q¡ltu al issue encompasses ways oflivirg, artifacts, sigrs and
symbols, people producing and reproducing at homg as well as sharing
in individual-
community reciprocal relalions. Nationalism and regionalism as forms
mechanisms flou¡ished
abroad. I-uis Go¡zi.lez
y
GovÁlez
a
of
resistant
Mexic¿n histo¡ian,
conceptualizes Matriotism (associated to mothe¡ as patriotism to hther) as a primary feeling
held by individuals belonging to the plac€ where hdshe was born or raised.(2)
Michoacanos bom betwe€¡ 1904 and
cortributed to acculturation
i¡
l9l8
and who sojourned to ihe United States
the U.S a¡d in Michoacán. Matriotism for this generation
might be synthesized as'My home is wherever I can make a good living." Michoacanos
bom in the first quaner of the century had grorm up in an atmosphere of violence,
59
poverty, injustice, hatred, fear, and suspicion. Acco.dirg
to
González
y
González thei¡
childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood
had been filled with calamities, and, upon reaching the age where they had a voice
in the mattet they set out to obtain for them and their families the f¡eedom and
happiness heralded by the ¡adio, the movies, and the magazines which had been
almost their only teachers...Some had the enterprise to go to the city in search of
a new life. Almost a1l those who stayed behind signed up as braceros, hoping to
come back from the "States" with enough money to take up the bourgeois
existenc€ they aspired to.(3)
Other Michoacanos, bom between 1920 and 1934, were impacted by the Paricutin
volcano eruptiori. Thei. existence was affected the national unity plan and development
programs. Having previous experience with migration, members of this generation were
quick to move íiom the countryside to the city and beyond the border. Mexica¡ writers
have accused this generation of having little respect for traditions. Other accusations
directed at them include their propensity for fame and inclination for material goods and
money. A
sense
of community has declined while individualism is on the rise among
them. They have seen mo¡e ofthe world than their elde¡s. They recognize no authority
-
neither patriarchal, nor civil. They are rebels in afitude, but not in deed.(4)
The etinic background of Michoacán migants is diverse. Mestizo-Criollo
ranche¡os dwell along the cor¡idor
Coúja and its extension
i¡
or Ziráparo, Tlazazalc4
Purépero, Ta¡gancicuaro,
the southwest of the state. Prior to the 1920s, mule-drivers
from Purepero, Cotija, Churincio a¡d ziÍáparo went into and across the Hot l,owlands
Tieña Caliente del Balsas and south through Mexico, Aaapulco, even into Guatemala.
After migrating to the U.S. muleteqs and c¡4ft men labored
as
wo¡kers in steel plants arid
rail¡oads. Ra¡chers usually held small po¡tio¡ of lands and alternated activities. Some
¡aised c¿ttle while others were sharecroppers. Small landholders produced dairy products.
60
They also cultivate honey and lime in dry season. Lime was used ir¡ construction, and
was important to prepare ¡ixtamal, the boiled corn for making masa. Male child¡en
assisted their parents in
cufing the wood for the production of lime. In the foothills sugar
is harvested a¡d sold on Sundays in the plaza.(5)
Indigenous peoples comprise the dominate population
Purépecha uplands and Lake Pátzouaro region,
in
in Ciénega de Zacapu,
central Michoacán. Land
is
held
communally. lndigenous peasants altemate activities in anisanry and trade. Mestizaje
occurred in the Cañada de Chilchota
in relation to the proportion of the Indigenous
population. The Tarasc¿r or Purépecha language has pracrically disappeared "except for
a few old folks," but Indian ways and attitudes have not entirely been forgotten. Some
have continued intact, and othe¡s have become part
ofa new "dual cha¡acter" society.(6)
The population in La Cié¡aga de Chapala ¿nd the riorth central valleys is primarily
Mestizo. Sahuayo, Jaripo, Guaracha, a¡d other rancherías in the Morelia valleys had
a
strorig Afric¿n descendant population. Trappe¡ herding, domestic servants, artisan,
ñuleteer, and petty traders w€re occupations that allowed Afromestizos freedom of
movement. Farm workers, sha¡ecroppers and mainly ejidatarios co¡stitute the active
population. Ejido land is held in common by community members, who have the right to
use the land but
¡ot to sell it. Ejidata¡ios cultivated the land but credit ard techrioal
assistanc€ we¡e lecking
to put the land to its full potential. During the harvert
season
families a¡e able to support themselves but during the rainy se¿son the ejidatario and
hiVh€r suffer ñnancially.(7)
The passports and visas which Michoacanos applied for du¡ing the 1920-1955
period proüde personal and social info¡matio¡ on migrants. Mo$ of mig¡ants left from
6l
central, nonh central, nortbeast and nonhwest localities of the state
in the
period
between 1920 and 1930. Applicants ftom Zamora, Puruándiro, Zacapu, Erongaricuaro,
Santa Ana Maya and Zinapécuaro chose Los Angeles as their point
ofdestination. (See
Map MichoacáLn 1920-1930). The migrants'age ranged from under 20 to over fo.ty. In
a sample of forty migrant applications 23 migrants ranked in the age ranges of 20-30,
ten in the ra¡ge
of3l-40, and 3 migrants over 40 in the
same
period. This pattern and
proportion scheme coincides with samples ofMichoacán migrants in 1929-1930, 1945
a¡d 1955. (See Table 2). Migrants composed peoples in the most productive age range.
The predominant occupation listed was migrant worker. According to the applications,
most of migrants leñ in the ñrst half of the yea¡. From the months Janua¡y to June
migrants left for rhe United States when they had the highest economic resou¡ces due to
the harvest months. (See Table 3).
A sample of6 Michoacanas and 96 Michoacanos in Los Angeles during 1929 a¡d
1930 provides their names, municipalities from which they came, age,
civil status
and
occupation. Many of the names were taken ftom the Catholic calendar. Maria was the
most c,o¡ünon name fo¡ women; tosé, Antonio, Jesús and Francisco being the most
common name for men. Numerous people proceeded fiom Puruándiro, secondarily from
La Piedad, Tlazazalcz, Purépero, Tangancícuaro, as well Chu¡incio, Villa Morelos,
Zamora, Huaniqueo, Panindícuaro, Tanhuato, Villa Jiménez. a¡d other municipalities
ceritral ar¡d northweste¡n. Outside the mosl freque¡tly named regions
of
of
migratior¡
Pichitaro (Tingambato) and Tecario (Taotnbaro) in central part of the state, and Villa
Hidalgo and La Era (Tuxpan) in the eastern part of the state were also represented in the
migration stream to the United St¿tes. The age ofthese mig¡ants in Los Angeles varied
62
from 19 to
75
According to the repott, one of them was under the age of20; while 4l
were in the 20-30 age range,
3l in the 3l-40
age range, and
3l
over the age of
forty. A
majority of the 24 single migrants ranged from the age of 20-30 while 25 manied
migrants ranged from the ages of
3
1-40, three widowets were over the age of
40- Four of
the six women were manied, and their occupation Iisted was attending their homes (8)
Agricultural activities and industries in Califomia a¡d Los Angeles att¡acted
wo¡kers and peasarts during the 1929 depression period.
A large number of
migrant
workers in the United States worked in the agricultural fields. This served to perpetuate
rural customs amoflg a ¡elatively large segment of Michoacan migrants. Women
performed domestic duties (haciendo pie de casa) and also enhanced Michoacán
traditions.
A
1929-1930 sample of the migrant population identifies 83 joumeyn€n,
5
fa¡mers, 3 workers, 2 cooks, a trader, an employee, one ga¡dener, one meahanic, and one
blacksmith. (See Table
4).
t¿st Íames and geographic origin of Michoacán migrants
suggest shong family ties and other social relations from ra¡cheria
people. Family
co¡mections played a significant role for migrants. Relatives and siblings
ofthe migant
population in Los Angeles also shared a migrant background.(9)
These p¿tterns
ofa .ural mig¡aÍt tradilion among the Michoacán population in Los
Angeles is demonstrated ifl the following example. Born
Michoac¡ín migrant immigrated
tr
1922
to the United
in 1904, Salvador
States accompanied
Sorelo, a
by
some
relatives. The family enrolled in an enganche fo¡ Sa¡ Jose Califomia. He was denied
employment because of his age. However he quickly leamed English and was given a job
as a water canier
fo¡ field labor. Later, he worked in the Southem P¿cific Raihoad
many other Michoacári migrants did.
63
as
Living in the United States, was hard fo¡ Sotelo at the beginning. Afte¡ working,
he would cook, wash dishes, put ñrewood in the stove and sweep the cart-house. Sotelo
did laundry on every Sunday and also washed other people's clothes in ord€¡ to eam extra
money. Sotelo joined his b¡other who previously had emigrated
i¡ l9l0 arid moved to
Los Angeles. Sotelo and his brother worked in lhe construction business. Sotelo learned
the masonry and attended night school in order to improve his English. He met fi¡st
girlíiiend in the United States while üsiting his relatives. Novia"€o or courtship is
an
impo¡ta¡t iniliation period for marriage. In Michoacán it encompasses a ritual which serves
to lormalize a relationship. According to chu¡ch ¡eco¡ds Michoacán male migrant generally
tended to marryr Mexican woman from
Mexim-(I0)
Several Michoacán families entered in United States before the Depress¡on years.
Betwe€n 1927 a¡d 1928,
l0l
men and 48 women emig¡ated fiom the Zamora valley.
Among this group was 14 families, one couple, 5 siblings and f¡iends from the Zamora
municipality, and a four member family from Jacona. 67 percr,nt came from the he¿d
municipality and
Angeles.(l
33oy'o
from the rarcherías. Six migrants from Z¿mora headed to Los
l)
Du.ing the depression a large percent of the Mexic¿¡ immigrant population
repatriated
or were deported- Those who retumed to Mexico during and aft€r the
depression took ideas, techniques, skills, and some economic resou¡ces
to imp¡ove their
lives in their homelands. Due to agrarian refonn, among other facto¡s, Michoacán
peasants did not leave for the U. S. throughout the 1930- 1940 period which coincided
with
the Cá¡denas' govemmental ard presidential adEinistration.(12) A Michoacan migrant
from Los Angeles w¡ote his brothe¡ in Februuy 28, 1940:'We long to retum to Mexico
64
some day althoughjust visiting. Over all, we long to visit our siblings whom we have not
seen long time
ago'(13)
The official political party led agrarian ¡efo¡m
in line üth its original goals.
of
However the rcality ¡evea.led that the ofticial party was far from meeting the original goals
the ¡evolution. I¿nds in Michoacán we¡e generally
well watered due to the water draining
from the ¡ive¡s and lakes. However, productivity of c¡ops was unstable due to inadequate
ag¡icultual and inigation systems.(I4) Furthermore, regional trading and industry activities
were sc¡¡rce. Peasants became captive voters for the ofiicial party
(PN& PRN! PRI). They
pa¡ticipated in civil acts which failed to add¡ess immediate concerns. Poor social and living
conditions ofejidatarios were captu¡ed by seve¡al reports take¡ in the eady 1940s. Food and
housing conditions were less than minimal. Natu¡al disasters exacerbated these conditions.
For example rvhen the P¿¡ícutin volca¡o erupted
in
1943 big clouds of dust tumed tl¡e
sunlight into darkness fo¡ several d¿ys in Numarar! a hund¡ed and fifty kilometer away.(1 5)
The B¡ac€ro Program, an agreemerit between the United States and M€xican
govemments at the beginning ofthe United States participation in World
a ralve
Wü II,
became
of escape for Mchoaoán pe¿sants, afisans and low level employees. MichoacáLn
along with the Federal District, Guanajuatq Jalisco. Durango, Chihuahu¿ and Zacatecas
proüded more Braceros tlan any otllers. P¡ior to t¡e ending of this War, Mchoacán
people werit to the United Stat€s as bracetos; but after 1945 when worry of being drafted
ir¡to the war no lo¡ger
eúste4 there was
ü
hcrease in sho¡t-teñi emigration. The Korean
War also impacted the lives of Michoacá¡ people d¡a¡natically. The head of
Michoac{án family w¡ote his sibling on October
65
a
9, 1950: y¿ le vino ca.ta a [mi r¡ieto]
Raúl para la guerra, y mi hüa Rosa ha estado los más a llore y
llorg lo mismo que Josefa
[su abuela]. Late., he wrote in anothe¡ letter on October 5, 1954
In regards to your nephews, Raúl will be coming on the l5rh ofthis month. IIe is
already in Los Angeles and has completed his 2 y€ar term. About the others I do
not have any information because they do not visit us; those are Lupes's children,
the daughter ofmine who died, and Mike's, two boys and two girls bom when he
retumed from Wo.ld War IL(ló)
According to demographic reco¡ds of 1950, almost half of the Michoacán Braceros
were young migrants. From the total of emigrants, 4370 were u¡der 15, and
we¡e adults..
4l
or 57 percent
At the begi¡nirig of the Bracero program most of the Michoacán migrants
were from the villages; later it was the men f¡om the rancherias who predomiúated. In the
€arly y€a¡s, the la¡ger pan were young men ofthe middle a¡d upper classes; but as time
w€nt
oq
most of them we¡e people from the lower economic sectors. The migrants'
literacy level was low.(17)
As see¡ in Table 4, most ofthe Michoacán migrants were peasants and they used
to work in ñelds of Califomia and Ios Angeles in the late 1920s and early
1930s.
Personal accounts and passpo¡t applications during the 1940s and 1950s indicate a
diversity of occupations: traders, farmers, journeymen, workers, artisans, employees,
students, few men
in
indust¡ial agtivities and women
Operation Wetback and
the
in
decreasing opportunities
house
duties. ln spite of
of the Bracero progr¿r!
Michoacanos continued emigrating beyond tho bo¡der. Several traders cmigrated due to
the 1954 devaluation which afected Mexica¡ t¡ad€,(18) although the economic situation
on both sides was
difficult. A Mchoacán migant
complained Íiom Los A¡gel€s on
January 1957: "está la cosa dura que ni es tan siquiera como pensé.
cents and neither
I did not hav€ any
rrork; it is so ha¡d that I did not even imagine as I thor-rght" However,
66
farmss coostructions ¿nd industuial
women
work still ¿ttr¡cted rnigr¡nts to Cdifornia. Michoacán
nahly joined the garrcrt i¡ú¡stry in Ios Angeles. Fo¡mer pe¡sa¡ts
bluecollar workers,
as
became
wcll as forme¡ a¡tis¿ns and low level employe€s who also tertiary
jobs in restaurantr a¡d hotels. Before ending üe Bracero prograr4 a large number of
Mchoacá¡ migrants noved to the citi€s. Los Algeles contiaued to b€ poirt ofanival for
Michoocanos.(
l9)
ü
Migration Ircalities to the United States 1920-1930.
ESTADO DE MICHOACAN
0
t]
it
X
¿
68
a
^21ÍPa
E:
Table 2
104 Michoacán
Mgrants. Age Ranges. 1929-1930
Unde¡ 20
20-30
/l
3t-40
Over 40
/t /t I I I I I I I
I
//t//t/lt///////l/l/t////// 4t
/l/ll//lll
/ / Il////////
///t// / t//fi
31
3l
44 Michoacán Mig¡a¡ts. Age R¿nges. 1945
Under 20
20-30
31-40
Over 40
5
l4
1.2
13
60 Michoacán
Migants. Age Ranges.
20
20-30
31-40
Over4o
llll
l//lll////ll/llll/lll//lll
ll////l/ll/l/l
llll////l//////l
Under
1955
4
26
14
16
Sourc€: Secretaría de Relaciotres Exte¡iores, Archivo Hlstó¡ico. Arahivo
Histórico del Poder Ejecutivo de Mchoacán. Pasaportes.
69
Table 3
II
I Mchoacán Migruts to U.S. Applicstion D¿te.
Jstruáry
February
I\ilarch
April
May
June
July
Ausust
Sqte¡nber
O(tob€r
Novembcr
D€c¡mbcr
tIII/IIlUttnnflt tIIIIIItlI
I
II
II
t
lllllIIII
lllll
19,14
37
13
ó
6
7
l3
//I
8
7
It
I
I
2
t
60 Mohoaoén Mgrants to U.S. Applic¿tioa Date. 1955
Janu¡ry
F€bru¿¡y
M¡rch
April
Itl¡y
IuDo
July
August
S€ptrmb€r
lllll t
I
It
II
It
10
5
14
lIfln
6
5
UIt
l5
5
0
o
fub€r
0
o
o
NoY€mbcr
Deonber
Sorrce Arcüir¡o Iistó¡ico dcl Poder Ejcortivo dc ltÁchcán P¡sapo¡tes,
m
Table 4
Mchoacanos in Los Angeles 1929-1930
Nmc
o¡igitr
Age
Vicente Ms€aña
Gumersindo Metftlez
V. Guadalupe
Purüá¡diro
La Piedad
J6éM. Figü@
Lau¡o Rodrigw
JoséM. T. Yepiz
Refi€io Du¿rt€
Tomás
l¡lcz
1¿
Pie&d
V. Guadalupe
Panindícutro
Ju¿¡ Ba¡re¡a
l,{Eseno Toledo
Mrrijo
Ramón Ir'1a
Eülcurro
Bs¡tolo Aguil&
Ma¡€linoM%
li¿lel Ma)€
¡r2¡ Ru¿
lnés R¡mÍez
Pagu¡no
Abundio Solorio
l,
Foni¡o Herná¡dez
L€rla
A$ltln
M¡¡ijo
Tspia
Espiridión ochoa
Luis l,lasd¿leno
José Solorio
Moisés Re'€s
Jesús EsTinoz¿
Piedad
Pajacüal¡tr
[email protected]
Timoteo Blanco
Bemabé MÁldon¡do
Ezequiel Ga¡cfa
V. rrd¡ko
Zalxxe
creSorio cerda
Pat¡icio Zá¡te
Emiüo Rosales
Nunñán
t¡
Est€ban
Luz
Gua,ár
Secundirc Zavala
Tres Meequiles
huütudno
cmelio
M€?Á
David OlivaEs
Felip€ JuárEz
Hu¿niqu€o
F/o- deMch
Lüs l,{agd¿[email protected]
a¡trérdro
FÉ¡cisco Timdo
Zurumuato
D6niet Llma
L6
Antonio Cdstilo
Tan$ncfcu¡ro
Reyes
lá Pid¿d
R¡món Gui!,ár
Pu¡épero
chilchota
7t
Civil Status
26S
30M
43M
28S
50M
36S
24M
32M
33M
UM
37M
43M
,lO M
NS
22s
29S
4lw
31 M
39M
37S
28S
35S
30M
44M
37M
25M
39S
48M
24S
3lM
48M
42W
69M
37M
29S
3ls
48M
275
43S
29M
39M
28M
42M
IM
38M
43S
30M
25M
2.6M
34S
23S
38M
26S
,J
J
J
J
J
J
J
J
J
J
J
J
J
J
J
J
J
J
J
J
J
J
J
J
J
J
J
J
J
J
I
J
J
Cook
I
I
J
J
J
J
J
J
J
J
J
J
J
I
Sniü
Lüis Rq€s
Ls Noria
S. J. de Cr¿cia
Jeslls Zavala
Tier¡"s Blrmc¡s
Jd3é
¡squiv€l
Tranquilino Soto
La Piedad
Fi¡iqE M¡rti¡ez
Ihvid Ha€dia
l¡
Piedrd
carEio de Gu¡¿
Pichtrdo
M
2a
s
s
M
M
M
30
30
22
27
29
D¡üd CmF6
49
Es¡d.
l¡6 ReFs
3l
P'[email protected]
40
65
onésim Aguila¡
t¡¡¡cli
J6é Crüz
lópez
M
M
s
s
M
M
M
M
M
M
M
La Piod¡d
2l
s
s
43
42
Uñ[email protected]
R Cordflüi¡s
C. & Trujilo
Mr¡la R Covünbi¡s
J
J
Enploye
M
M
M
53
50
CGi¡
T
PiedÁd
l,leí¡ Silla
J
J
J
l¿
Félix V€g¿
J
M€ch¿¡ic
S
Huipcú¡
Puuá¡diro
I
M
M
37
45
38
45
Dlaz
de
27
46
Tclésforo dc l¡ Cruz
rtt rl¿ P
s
38
bdlál d. los H
Tmás Bsnjas
JGé
J
23
21
Tofts
Ig¡ucio c. H6¡Ánd.?
Jü¡n
M
20
46
"Ikzn*ca
M¡¡fle€s
José
I
3l
30
Iá Pid¿d
Edü.ddo Garcí¡
l,t¡sd¿[email protected]
M
M
27
27
24
Gal€ao¡
Pilsr
31
54
Dorotd Espinoaa
Mato Cúiér€z
J
I
J
r
J
Iloüse
J
l
J
J
s
M
J
I
J
Hoüse
I
M
M
Hoüse
75
Josá
I'f¡ria
3l
M
House
S
Hoü€
Eligio M]llino
2a
39
A¡seho &dr¿
Atrt(aio Z¡Y¡L
Ilnrssiüo l'lmzo
hblol,Írillo
IrD¡cio }árilo
Ch4itto
Plinúdiro
s
s
J
J
38
M
M
J
22
29
49
}údo.ce
M
cln¡rincio
DeEllo A¡iIIld€
R¡ljándno
42
s
s
M
M
M
SaliddA¡&!d.
Jcé Arcuim
h[!¡¡düo
2t
s
35
36
M
M
2a
S
5t
M
sd¡¡ce S€(f€t d¡ dc Rdacioo6 ExLrior.., Archivo Hirórico.
wl03{.
chrriúio
Chri¡cio
Mu¡i[o
P8l,lo R Csi¿
Jo6é
l9
46
38
J€sús GüriésÉ?
Fidct
ALin¡tr
Mic¡d!ún
B.rito Vd¡zqü.z
Noles: S sinslq
Mmrri€d;Wwid¡w6, JjourÉ'mao.
72
r
!
J
J
J
J
J
r
I
Notes
I.- Constlución Polílicq del Esrdo
d¿
Mich.ncén.1926.
2.-L. GoruÁte.. 1973,p 18.
3.-
L. CmruÁlez.
19'1
4, p. 226.
4.- Ibid., p. 252.
5.- D. Stanilawski. 1950, p. 6'l.
L.
Cnnzález. 1974. Interview with Jesús
Covam¡bias. Montebello, Ca. November 24, 1994. Interview with Crispin Saucedo,
Purepero, Mich., September 3 I , I 980. M. Carreras de Velasco. I 978.
6.- Stanilawski. 1950,63-64. L. Mendiet¿ y Nuñez. 1940. C. AguiFe Beltrán.
1952.
'7.-
L. GowAlez. 1979. A. Ochoa Senano. 1997, p 79. Gallegos. 1984. Mi¡anda
Godínez. 1984. Serrano Gómez. 1943,p35.
8.- SFE-GE,IV-103-6. A previous and smaller example in AMZ Gobemaciór\
1917, a<p.48.
9.- SRE-GE IV-103-6. S. Sotelo Arévalo. 1996. I. Gallegos. 1984. RM Bec€fra.
1988. Woman's social role in migration proc€ss. M¿nuel Gamio Collection Z-R 5, 2: 10,
I I, 13, 14 16, 17, 18. T\e frlm Mi [email protected], directed by Gregory Nav4 is based on a
Michoac¡¡o experience.
10.- S. Sotelo. 1996, p 29-32. . I, Gallegos. 1984. AP Información M¿trimonial:
Churincio, Coalcomá¡\ Jacon4 Jiquilpar! Purepero, Puruándiro, TüEancicuaro,
T lazazzlc\ Z,eIú,or4 Zin^Dzr o.
t
l.- AMZ Aluntamieíto 1927,
1928 Certificates for passport applications.
12.- SRE-P and AHEE, Passports a¡d visas ¡ecords.
13.- AOS Na¡es Collection. Lettcr fiom Miguel Nares
to Bonito Nares, l¡s
Ang€t€s, Ca. F€bruary 28, 1940
14.- Galindo. 19a3, p. 31.
15.-
R Castillo Garza. 1941.
M¿rquez Dur¿¡L 1944, p 18 R€€s. 196l.L.
1974.
73
cñwílez.
16.- AOS Na¡€s C-oll€ction" L€üefs ftom Miguel Náreq I¡s Angeles! Ca" Octub€r 9,
f950 and Ocober 5, 1954- P¡wior¡sly NE€s had n¡rifeIl qui€n sabe si se llev€n s R¡uL f9, s
I¿ gu€oa. July a 1950. Uribe de Gom€¿. 1998.
17.- Prograrns de Miohoaaá.[ 1958 AOS Alfonso
C-f,fuálfz,. 1974,p.239.
I
A(hede Co[estion 1947. L.
8.- AIIEE¡ Pasaportes 1955.
I¡s
19.- AOS, Nsrcs Collecion l¡tt€( ñom R Peo¡ Zamor¿ to Beqito Ns¡Eg
A¡gcles, Ja¡uary 25, 1957. Ite¡vieq. with Clco&s Ceja, Jiqufpsn Iúy 11, 196. Cqi4 E
tailor, altcraed tailcing at bomc wtile wo*iDg in I hotel in West Los A¡g€l€s.
71
CHAPTER 4
HOUSING, CLOTHING, AND FOOD
Home and house
Beyond the essential functionality
of
protection and shelter, home signifies
a
physical designation and dwelle¡s. Home is the house and the occupants, it is the conception
ofa liüng space. Initially this
space is conceived as an assembly
of four walls with tiling in
which dwellers placed the images ofthe saints orthe altars. The rural house in Michoaqán
draws on Spaoiard, African and Indigenous influences. The cente¡ of the hoñe among the
most humble, ¿s
i¡
ancient times-- was the vent or the place of for the fire (fogórL hogar).
Firg in Spanish, is the ¡oot wo¡d fo¡ Home. Meanwhile vent was tlle image, the inca¡nation
ofthe old god, the god ofthe Fire among ancient cultures in Mexico.(l)
At the end ofthe C¡istero rebelliorL Agrarian Reform was intensified in Michoacán.
Seve¡al new localities were created as towns (i.e. Briseñas, Vista Hermosa), o¡ reinforced
due to the break up of estates during the agrariaa
refo¡m.
Socio-economic change was
mainly noticeable in house co¡struction and ¡econstruction. Repatriados who had refi¡rned
from the United States brought resources and skills and co¡structed well built homes. For
examplg half ofthe nu¡iber oftotal houses built in Cojumatlán were constructed dudng thc
1930s. They were riade
ofbrick and tile, a¡d
measu¡ed
five meter high. Forty per cent of
the homes were constructed of adobe houses a.nd we¡e built before the 1926 cdstero revolt.
Ten per cent of houses in the outskjrts and ¡ancherías were made of wood and slraq
consisting ofo¡e o¡ two huts fo¡ the bedroom a¡d kitchen.(2)
75
Home improvements also took place due
to
economic bonanza
of the
Bracero
program, and the governmenfal stimulated program of home imp¡ovement. The regions
of
Jacona and Jiquilpan experienced housing development as a result of construction of the
Mexico-Morelia-Guadalajara highway. According
statistics,
to Mexican population censuses and
a g¡eat iñprovement of housing occured th¡oughout the 1950s.
Violence
decreased in rural are¿s and urban population increased in those years.(3)
The social and economic conditions of the house occupant determined
const¡uctiorL fumishing and interior atmosphere. Thc houses
for
its
ejidatarios, small
landowners, low level employees, artisars and several peasants' we¡e distributed tkoughout
the
town. Although artisan were well
delimited
in ce¡tain small cities.
Landowners,
merchants, high level employees built their houses around the plaza where the church, city
hall, cinema and stores stood. People from the lower level secto¡s of society inhabited ihe
oulskirts, and the joumeymen lived in isolated ra¡che.ias. A general description of houses
during the 1940s irr Tanhuato, Penjamillo, and Angamacutiro follows:
Houses were made of b¡ick walls in the dovrútown are¿. Some have roofs of vault
bóveda, while olhers have tile
rool
Floors of cement, several wide and spacious rooms,
wide doors and big windows distinguish one from another. Houses have yards, orchard arid
a
ponal. Upper middle class people dwell in houses located a¡ound the plaza. Middle class
people live in homes made ofbrick
lacking windows.
A
wall. Their
houses consist
small number of families
oftile roofs and brick floors,
in A¡gam¿cutiro lived in hygienic
and
acceptable house conditions. These families had previously lived in the United States o¡ in
Mexico city. Most ofthe middle class houses ofthese tow¡s had corrals where cows, horses
or pigs were kept.
76
Other houses consist of adobe walls, tile ¡oofs and di¡t floors. Some homes contain
only a couple ofrooms while others contain only one which serves as living room, dining
room and bedroom. The kitchen is always separated f¡om the rooms, even in single room
homes. Some ¡ooms are without window or have the kitchen located inside the one main
room. The kitchen has a stone blaze and the combustion fills the single o¡ double ¡oom
homes. Seed is sto¡ed in a comer ofthe house when harvest takes place. Fumitu¡e consists
ofa few chair¡
some boxes for drawe¡s and a petate mounted on wood cha¡ts which serves
as a suppon for boxes or as a
live in close proximity
Houses
10
bed. House conditions in the ¡ancherías a¡e dismal. People
animals. The huts have dirt floo¡.(4)
in the Ciénega de Chapala are adobe, brick or stone built. Houses in
downtolrn have smoothed lime mixture o¡ plastered walls and have doo¡s ard wooden
windows. Some windows a¡e grated. These houses have ¡oofs m¿de of vault or terrado.
Some houses have overhang tiled roof and tapanco (attic to keep grain); as well mosaic,
wooden stave, cement or brick
floor. Few
houses have several rooms. The kitcher is apart
fiom the house a¡d has a brick or mosaic vent. Some families have electric or tactolina
stoves in thei¡ kitchefls. Their houses also have patio, conido¡s and a cor¡al. Three two
story houses existed in Villama¡ in the 1940s.
Most
oft¡e ejidatario
houses have adobe walls, tapanco and tile
roofs. The room and
the cor¡idor floo¡ is made of b¡ick, stone or g¡ourid. The walls of the rooms a¡e made with
lime. Houses consist mainly oftwo rooms, with shutte¡ windows. During the harvest, cor4
whe¿t or chickpea is stored in a comer of the room o¡ in the tapanco. These houses have no
dining roon¡ and the conidor is adapted for it before the rainy and winter season. The vent
77
is made of adobe whe¡e firewood and cobs are bumed. The rising smoke infiltrates the
home. These houses also have adjacent corrals.
Houses in the town outskins and in the ranche¡ias consist of single ¡oom homes.
They are adobe or slone
manure
built. The adobe walls a¡e ¡ecovered with
a mixture of mud and
ofcow, finished with lime gror.rt. These houses have din floors
and tiled
roofs. The
tapanco stores corn and othe¡ seeds. The kitchen is located adjacent to the room- Animals
are kept in nea¡by corrals. General speaking, the houses are overcrowded and insufficient
living
spaces for the occupalts.
In the ranchería and outskirts ofthe town, poor people live in jacales, a singl€ room
huts ofadobe walls, field stone walls o¡ bamboo and reeds walls, straw roofs and dirt floor.
The hut has no wi¡dows, and its doo¡ is very
naÍow.
The kitchen is a vent of cooked mud
loc¿ted out ofthe hut, most likely under a t¡ee. Some ümes the kitchen is located in the hut.
This rustic house has no corral so the animals live in the open space ofthe hut. (5)
In the southwest and the Cotija-Purépero-Tlezazalca conido¡, adobe houses
a¡e
common. Houses are plastered and whitewashed, and have wood windows. The floors a¡e
made
of brick. All ofthe
houses even the most humble have tiled roofs which contains a
tapanco. The more substantial homes have a patio and conal. The patio is used to ha¡g
clothes o¡ c¿ntains a bath¡oom space. The conal is also a waste d€pository.
It
serves as a
place to raise pigs and poultry.(6)
The typiaal house in the Purépecha ¡egion loc¿ted in the countryside. The we¿lthy
families have some commodities in their several room homes. The adobe houses have
tejamanil overhang roof. The lapanco althe attic is used to store grains, and occasionally as
a
bed¡oom. Besides adobe const¡uctions, the toje co[stitutes most of housing in the ¡egion.
78
It
consists
of a ¡oom of
several thiak wooden slates that can be €asily disñañtled.
Tejamanil covers the four side pyramidal
roof The floor is half a meter high from
the
ground. A small portal sustained by wooden pilla¡s protects the fiont with a small doo¡
attached. Soñetimes the troje serves as granary and the family sleeps in the kitchen on
bed made f¡om tables
a
o¡on petates.
The pooresl families, peons and joumeymen use one room in which they cook, eat
and sleep
in.
They a¡e built ofwood and adobe and the center offhe room is the parangua
where the oven vent is located. The floor is made of din. (7)
During harvest season ejidatarios have the resouraes to imp¡ove their homes. During
the rainy season th€ poorly built homes a¡e effected. Once again the amount of furniture
conelates with the number ofrooms. In several villages ofthe northwest, who can afford to
do so build thei¡ own houses
ofbrick or adobe.(8)
The retu.n of Michoacán migrants brought resor¡rces ard skills for better housing.
The home improvements were reflected in the inside as well as the outside. Migrarits
brought modem electrical appliances. R¿dio sets
and fv
sets bec¿me part
of
home
atmosphere. Braceros during the period of 1942 and 1964 brought manual mills, openers, can
openers, phonographs, radios, record player, and others devices to Mchoacán(9)
The interior decoration ofhomes also reflected the influence ofUnited States culture
and incre¡sed modernization artd urbaniz¿tion. Migrants used rugs bought in the United
States
to decorate the walls The rugs had pictures of horses, gmnd landscapes and forests.
Mexican style decorations or adomments d€corated Mchoaca[os' hous€s in Los Angeles.
Religious icons, family photos, signs a¡d symbols crossed both sides ofthe border.
79
The majority of the migrarit workers in
l¡s
Angeles worked on the rail¡oad and
agriculture fields. Los Angeles dow¡town area hosted migrants who temporarily came to
protegerse, a invernar- Michoacán migrants who stayed and made roots in Los Angeles
occupied the areas ofMaravilla and Belvedcre mostly. Part ofthe decision to stay included
purchasing a home to avoid ¡enting pe¡petually. The house prope.ty also becoñe a symbol
of migrants' economic status.(10)
Home ¡enovations
in Michoacán continued in the fifties and sixties.
modeled their homes after the local homes
ofthe rich. Durirg the
house (using aluminum and azulejo) set the pattern
Mig¡ants
1970s Califomia style
for Mchoacán mig¡ants. Due to
migratior! real estate property values weftt up in several towns and small cities ofthe stafe.
Cunently in Michoacan migrants avoid preferencing certain styles. Instead they build their
homes
üth
the intent
ofgiving them an expensive appe€¡ance.
Cloth a¡d tailo¡ing.
Clothi¡g styles also were influenced by United States models. During lhe 1940s
Miahoacanos continued to wear calzón and camizola, faja or ceñidor, sandals, and palm and
st¡aw hats. The wide brimmed hsts were useful for ca¡ry¡ng items. Local patterns of dress
continued despite the prohibition oflocal authorities. These prohibitions on peasant clothing
date back to the Porfirio Diaz administration. Peasa¡t worke¡s carried an
efra
change
of
clothi¡g when they entered cities and towns. Before 1962 sandals, Meúc¿n shawls (rebozo)
and hats we.e common items seen in the plazas and chu¡ches. The Catholic Concilio
Vaticano
II
allowed women to attend servic€s without covering their heads. A-fter the
80
1960s women's use
of the rebozo declined.
Peasants acquired new clothing
during ha.vest se¿son du¡ing the hometown festival.(l
Dramatic changes
in
dress occur¡ed
substituting calzón and manta shirt
üth suits.
or
estreno
l)
in the late 1920s
Some people began
Overalls also became in use in the late l92os
Michoacán migrants recount that üey would take their best clothes and shoes with them to
the Uriited States. Immigration officials bathed the migrants and steamed their clothing.
The migrants were also disinfected. At the end ofthis process the clothing and shoes were
sometimes ruined. Ramona Bravo Torr€s de Cholico
in
1928 carried a bundle of male
clothing to taketo her brothe¡ who ¡esided in Califomia.(12)
Generally most of men had two changes of clothing, work and leisure clothing. New
clothes we¡e bought each season. Mostly clothing was home tailored as in the ranche¡o
conidor and Ciénega de Chapala region. The calzón trouse.s were used solely
as
undergarments when other clothes became adapted. Migrants acquired more clothing in the
Unitcd Stales. ln the r€gion of Tanhuato inhabitants frequently used jeans, jackets and
popelina shirts. Leather shoes began
to
replace the traditional s¿ndals (kakil tejidos a
mano). After the 1960s t¡adition¿l style hats such as 'Cha¡ro" and '?a¡acho" were used less
frequently.(13)
Traditional clothing was maintai¡ed in the Purépecha region. Generally women
went barefoot, othe¡s wore traditional boot.
ernbroidered blanka from 5 to
ó
n94ll.
Underwea¡ consist
meter long on which set the skirt
of a ¡ibbon of
of knitted wool 5 and l0
ñeters long, plisada in accordionlike form. Both underwear and skin are tied by several
embroide¡ed ba¡ds of
The woolen ski¡t
wool. Women
wea¡ a short sleeves shirt or guanengo and rebozos-
or'?ollo" in black is common and the dark blue is used
8l
less liequenrly.
Single women wear red rollo while manied women wear black
respect to la persona. The black
rollo. Black rollo
means
rollo is easier for tanning teñir. Families use the rollo
as
blanket in bed.(14)
The typical style dress for men consisted of shirt y calzoncs manta, a woolen faja,
sandals, palm hat and a woolen blanket or gabán. The gabán is the mosr lL¡xurous gament
masculina due to its variay ofadorns and brillantes colors. Several men wea¡ j€ans, dril or
pana trousers and tailored shirts o. camisolas. Blanket is used either day or oight.(
l5)
Clothing also became a symbol among migrants. Flowered and colo¡ful shirts were
wom by braceros back home. A Michoacán migrarit accounted in Los Angeles: Sunday was
an occasion
for dress up in suit, tie and good shoes. There were many retail shops specially on
Broadway. Victo/s Clothing Company was a frequented business as well as the Los Angeles
sto¡e. New and used clothing was sold. Suits cost more than one hundred dollars and included
slacks, a shirt and
jacket.
Shoes cost ten or fifteen
dollars. work clothing cost fou¡ or ñve
dolla¡s for a shirt and jeans. Cackies were also used.
It is to notice that mig¡ant women
mainly worked in clothing factories in California.(16)
Michoacán at the Table.
Into the first half ofthis century people in rural a¡eas slill used wooden spoons or a
fold piec€ of tortilla to eat their food. Soup was sipped directly from the bowl. Peasants
who h¿d been accustomed to sitting or have me¿ls on the ground while eating began using
tables and other fumiture. Migrants in the United States acquired new food and drinking
habirs. For example Doña Genoveva dra¡k ¡aw milk while living in the rancho a¡d had
ha¡dly accustomed to dri¡king pasteurized milk in Los Angeles. According to Catholic
a2
calendar and possibilities, mostly migrant women cooked the same food as that of
Michoacá¡ As well tortillas, Mexican vegetables and dulces ñexicanos were common in
Los Angeles markets. Several Michoaciín migrants began eating hamburge¡s and seafood.
However other migrants missed their traditional meals.(17)
In Michoacán, ¡ancheros had mainly meals based on dairy products as jocoque,
requesón, minguiche, panela, and
money to buy meat a¡d pasta.
meat. Ejidatarios during the harvest season had enough
Aier
the hawest they began to consume the com and beans
they previously cropped. The typical meal of the peasant consists of tortillas, beans, ¡ice,
pasta and
chile When lacking
beans, peasants ate
tortilla ¿nd chile
I think it's bener to e¿t tortilla with chile
than eating hot dogs.
Some times eggs, milk, meat supplemented peasants
consume red meat or
pork
diet- More rarely
people
In towns and rancherias close to the river people consumed fisl¡
carpa and catlish. Fruit during particular se¿sons in the northwest region included guav4
oranges, papayas and mangos. Sugar cane was also consumed. Vegetables and
fruit we¡e
seasonal. Nuts, yams, c¿cahuate and othe. vegetables are cultivated to a lesser decree.(I8)
Seve¡al towns
in the Bajío Z¿moraoo and Purépecha region had no
permÁnent
building for their markets. On Su¡rd¿ys vendors sold fiuit and vegetables &om temporary
stands in the main plaza. In general the towns have groc€ry stores which sell food, alcohol
and othe¡ miscellaneous items.(19)
CorrL beans, and wheat bread a¡e staples in Parangaricutiro and region in general.
Vegetables are infre4uently consumed due to sc¿rcity except on market days. People prefer
83
pork p¡epared in a variety ofways although beefis sometimes in demand for chu¡ipo. Fish
is difficult to acquire due to transportation but dry fish is brought from rivers neaóy.(2o)
Food established connections and rituals amo¡g peasants as well. Braceros and
mig¡ants brought canned food and other material culture elements liom the United States
while tortilla and tamales became familiar on both sides ofthe bo¡der. Over all, the taco is
one the basic food eaten in
Mexico and Michoacán, in a dominant maize cultu¡e. It is also
a
custom and a ritual. A¡mid¿ de la Va¡a describes the taco ope¡ation.
Holding the "newly cooked" tortilla in the left hand, with the edge ofthe right hand
give it a soft karate blow, without tea¡ing it, but making a kind of a hollow where
one puts ftitu¡as of beef or of buche, longanizg soricua, tongue, brains, cheek, ear,
cracks of "stufting chili," cheese, potato, muh¡ooms, flower of pumpkin or
whatever. Then shaking one's hand, sprinkle quickly onion, and a hot spicy red or
gre€n sauce, with cilantro and a small amount of lettuce or cabbage. Once all these
things are in the tonill4 the right hand makes a "pass" which rolls over, being careful
not to tear it so that the taco ¡ernains well done. Afterwards you take it with the úght
hand (with the othe¡ if lefthanded) and set it comfo¡tably between the thumb and the
middle finger, pressing it a little with the index finger, while the pinkie fiager lifts its
"end," so that the sauce is not th¡own. The grace of the taco is in the correspondence
ofthe finge¡s to the structure ofthe same, and the form in advancing the head to give
the first bite without spoiling the clothes.(19)
84
Notes
l.- V. M. O¡tiz.
1984, p
41,45.
2.- L de la Cajiga. 1944. R. Hemández Valencia.1940, p 37.
3.- D. Stanilawski. 1950, p 63. Mexico.1952. Mexico. 1963. Mexico. Anuario
Estadístico 1950 and 1960
4.- Martinez de Escobar, 1946, p 35. Galindo Guar¡eros. 1943, pp.2l-22. J. A.
Figueroa Juárez. 1944, p.33.
5.- G. Se¡rano Gómez. 1943, 20-22. L. Velascn Vargas. 1945, p.20-21. L. Meza
Chávez. 1943, p. 3l-32. Armostrong. 1949, 173-176.
ó.- S. Cast¡o Estrada. 1938, p. 6l-62. Sta¡islawski. 1950.
7.- Beals. 1944. L. Merdieta y Nunez. 1940. I. Zepeda Barceló. 1940, pp. 3l -32.. A.
Garcia Camberos. 1941, p.43.
8.- G. Serrano Gómez. 1943. Villamar, p 35. Armostrong. 1949, p 178. lnterview
with Angel Estrada, Briseñas, Michoacán, July 3, 1996, conducted by Alvaro Ochoa
Se¡rano-
9.- Taylor, 1930. Sotelo. 1996. Sanchez. 1993. Romo.
10.- Sotelo. 1996. AOS Na¡es Collection. Miguel Nares to Benito Nares, Los
Argeles, Ca., June 5, 1950 and July 2, 1950. Armostrong. 1949, p. 172.
ll.Ca. March
AMZ Justicia 1920 exho¡tos. Interview with Ma¡ia E. Serrano, Los Angeles,
1996. L. Velasco Vargas . 1945, p 12.
3l,
12.- Sotelo. 1996, p 29.Interview with Jesus Negrete. Atacheo, Mich. Decembe¡ 14,
1996. AItrlZ. Ayuntamiento. Zamora2T ¡¡ov l92S.Interview with Albeno Vázquez Cholico,
Tangancícuaro, Mch. November 4, 1997.
13.- Interview with Jesus Negrete. Atacheo, Mich. December 14, 1996. O. Ma¡tinez
de Escobar. 1946,
p.21.
14.- Ga¡cia Cambe¡os. 1941, p 4546. L. Mendiaa y Nunez. 1940. Interview with
Marina fuco Cano. Morelia. September 29, 1997.
15.- Ga¡cia Camberos. 1941, pp 45-46.L. Mendieta y Nunez. 1940.
85
16.- L. Con"¿lez. 1974, p 374. Interview
Novembe¡ 24, 194.
üth
Jes¡s Covam¡bias Montebello, Ca
17.- Compad¡e García. Jesus Covam¡bias. Cleofas Ceja, Jiquilpa¡. Gamio
Collection.
1973.
ZR
5, 2: I 8 Femando Hemaadez, Uruapan. January 3, 1997 . M. J . Va¡derman.
18.- G. Senano Gómez. 1943, p
35 Galindo Guameros 1943, p29-32
19.- J.A. Figueroa tuár¡.z. 1944, p 43. Drinking water is filltered through porous
rocks. People avoid to boil the water to purify it due to adquiere otfo sabor. Each rancheria
has its own spring or well.
20.- zepeda Barceló. 1940, pp. 4l-43.
A
rn.
L.Gr;lt:r;inez. 1996- L, Go¡zÁlez a¡¡d Armid¿ de la
de Ia Vara. 1985, p
Va¡a. 1984. Com is used to m¿ke atole, enchilad¿s, pozole, sopeg toqueras, tosladas s large
21.-
variaty oftacos
86
CHAPTER
5
LEISI]RE ACTIVITIES AND SYMBOLS
Any occasion for getting logcüer \ritl searc.
a¡y prele\t lo slop lhe flo$ of limc ¡nd
co¡¡mcmo¡ale mcn ¡¡nd elcnls silh festi\"ls
aIId ccremorucs. Wc are á ritu¡l people...
Octaüo Paz.
Rec¡eation and celebration
Leisure and rec¡eation activities in the homes and localities ofMichoacán reveal a
diversity of patterns of gender, age, class and ethnic patterns. The 192l-1970 censuses
desc¡ibed MichoacáLn society as mainly Catholic and decreasedly
rural. Religion
and
religious institutions played an important role among the Michoaca¡os, while music was
central to rural cultu¡al celebrations and activities. l€isure activities ofthe Michoacán rural
population are responding to daily experiences, searcnal and annual cycles, and individual
and community rel¿tions.
Music occurs during the celeb¡ation
of
ma¡riage either among Mestizo o.
Indigenous people. In comparison, baptism is an equal importa¡t event that unites parents
and godparents in compadrazgo bonds in extended rural
family networks. Howeve¡ there is
no music used in this ¡itual. The ritual which uses music is the fi¡neral
a¡e socialized
ofa child. Child¡en
in schoolg comrnunity and family recrearional activities. Graridparents also
participate iri ¡einfo¡cing cultural patt€ms for grandchildren.
Women while working at home sing Mexican so¡gs 'bara sentirse a gusto" (to feel
good)- At weekends children h¿d activities ofleisure playing amateu¡ spo.ts. Baseball was
popula. among the male Mestizo population while basketball was preGned by lndigenous
men and women. Sunday ends the workweek a¡d ma¡ks an impo¡tant day
a7
for
socio-
cultural activities such as serenatas, traditional Sunday-evening band concertg and groups
of young people strolling around the plaz4 or along the streets.( I )
Musical instruments, phonographs or radios cÍe¿te an atmosphere ofrelaxation after
work joumeys or in family parties. House panies are d¡stinguished Íiom fiestas in that the
latter involves the community and are ¿ significant mea¡s of building and strengthening
community
spirit. For
example fiestas reinforced religious ritual linkages and ofter¡
improved trading between cities and villages. In small villages and ¡ancherias, several
members
of the family played music at home, at church festivals, ñestas a¡d birthday
panies.(2)
Se¿soral and annual cycle
of village
fiestas mainly correspond
to
agficultural
activities. Religious ñestas devoted to patron saints were transformed into fairs as a ¡esult
ofregional rrade; Zacin a¡d Peribán exemplified early these transformations in the late l8ü
ce¡tury.
These events also congegated migrants (hijos ausentes) and people Íiom
neighboring towns and rancherias. Mos of the town fiestas in Michoaoián take plac€ at the
beginning, in the middle and at the end ofthe year during the harvests in the valleys. Other
fiestas oc€unrd in the temperate zone of the mountains during the rainy season. Church
services, fireworks, games, music, arid alcoholic beverages permeate fiestas.
All
the
families p¡rticipate in them- In additio¡ is the opportunity to wear the "estreno" @rand
new clothes wom only in the
fiesta). visitors a¡rived to town from s€veral p¿rls s€tting up
lotteries, c¿rrous€ls, bootbs to sell food ar¡d sodas.(3)
Before 1937 the peopl€ of San Francisco Jiquilpan used to commemo¡¿te
Francis on Oclober
4.
San
However, as presidenl LlEAro Cárdenas established November 20,
the a¡u¡iversary ofthe Mexican Revolution, as the main fiesta in his hometown. It was the
88
most imponant fair in the ¡orthwest region up until 1970, when Cárdenas died. Jaripo, in
the Villamar municipality, is a good example of how migration has changed the fiesta
calendar. Formerly the fiesta occured every yeaÍ in February. The Virgin Guadalupe,
traditionally celebrated on December 12, moved during the 1930s to the February harvest
season. But due to strong seasonal migration oowadays people ofJaripo retum to celebrate
it in January.
Sahuayo, the most important tra.ding city in the region, celebrates Virgin
Guadalupe as well.(4)
In Tanhuato, the tlpical fiesta of the Santo Cristo is celeb¡ated on May
families participate on adoming streets
üth
3.
Loca.l
decorative a¡ches. As in several town fiestas
in Michoacán, people set offcastillo and torito fireworks. Castillo, a survival ofthe former
Danza of Moo¡s and Ch¡istians, is a towerlike fiamework ofbamboo that cause a dramatic
display when
lit.
Apart of attending religious services, the inhabitants of the town attend
the cinema, engage in dancing and spols. In Purépero, in June, it was chiefly the artisans
that organized the ñesta. Several danc€s such as the Bakers occur. Orie of the characters
of
this dance represents the coal for the baker's oven. Another dance depicts the R€boceros,
the local artisans
oftextile crafl. (5)
Parangaricutiro celebrated the fiesta of Miraculous Christ on Septembe¡
was a well known ñesta
i¡
l4th. It
the state before the P¿ricutin volc¿no erupted in 1943. No less
than fourteen thousand people congegate every year on that ¡rnd the following days. Later,
south in a new settlement, this fiest¿ resumed in San Juan Nuevo. Prior ro the fiesta bands
of musicians strolled the streets playing. Booths for t¡ading were displayed in rhe plaza and
every available space, where
89
people bargain; rebozos were the attraciive merahandise. Candy from Colima,
dishware made of clay, wax candles, cotton cloths, were offered at rhe booths.
Some women sold food. However, thos€ who did better business were the gamblers
and the ba¡men. Also prostitutes would aÍive.(6)
Other leisure activities responded to migration. After working very intensively in
factories and fields in the U.S., braceros retumed home-town with hundred
ofdolla¡s. But
migrants looked for social prestige and ways to decompress. Young braceros organized
'!allos" (early a.m.
is reflected in
street singing), drinking beer and hiring banda de música to perform.
aÍ account ofthe
It
1940s
A few months later, the we¿lthy "northemers" were pobretones, but even so, upon
the arrival of the 'bortentous" jukebox to tow4 just for the pleasure of listening to
those songs that exah the drunkard, 'lf,ith his 45 gun, his c¿urageous, his sadness,
etc." they left the last c€nt in taverns.(7)
People in the Purépecha region st¿rted up bards @rass groups) and orahestras
(música de clerdas). Rur¿l Mestizo people usually performed orchestras i¡¡ fandangos. A
capella singing occured in coamiles or ecuaros (fields), during sowing cropping, and in
work breaks. José J. Nuñez and Dominguez, a folklorist, recounts the spontsneity of
peasants to
tell stories and legends, and to sing ballads while wo¡king. Nuñez wites:
"It
is a va¡iety of popular songs, songs that involve marvelous topics, sentimental or loving
adventures."(8)
A.fter harvesting, fiestas allowed several peasants to altemate musical ad¡üt¡es in
the villages. They would become Mariacheros, pan of thc big harp groups, and travel 1o
towns a¡d small cities. Musicians performed sones, songs, valoaas and conidos. They
wore cost¡¡med palm hats, red bandanns knoned to the neck, cotton blanket shirt a¡d
calzón, aad a ceñidor ¿round the w¿ist. Mariacheros played in the lavems, in the plaz¿, in
90
the market, or they would stroll behind the customers so everybody could see them. The
musical groups continlred arriving concomitant with the crops ofcom and ofbean.(9)
Pasto¡ela and Pastores a¡e performed during Christmas Eve up to the Candelaria,
from December 24 to Feb¡ua¡y 2. Pastorela represents the peasants'view ofthe Ch¡istmas
reenactment ofthe Holy Family, and it is one the older and more popular th€ater forms
Mexico. Cha¡¡eria and Ma¡iaches constitute oth€r peasants' entertainment. Chanos
Ma¡iache¡os had a common o¡igin
in cou¡tryside
i¡
and
sharing both African and Spaniard
influences. Herding activities, horse back riding by African descendants, Criollos and
Indom€stizos, a¡d Fandangos we¡e familiar in central Mexico since Colonial
cha.¡eía was cre¿ted on herding by horse riders. Words
as -Ro¿leo,
jaripeo
time.
The
and herradero
are ¡elated to Charreria as work and amusement(Io) Chanead4 the Charro exhibition,
still preserves the ranchero amus€ment.
However the rh)'thm of urban life transformed pe¿sants' social relationships and
modified rural costumes and customs of migrants. Mchoacán peasans in Los Angeles
adopted u¡ban actiüties of leisure. Jesús Cova¡rubias Magaña, a ranchero from southwest
Michoaca4 used to ride horses and oalves, circle the town plaza o¡ Sunday watching the girls,
and go hunting during the 1920s. His amusements changed in Los Angeles.
Heus€dtogo
around on Sundays with a "group of buddies" with whom he wo¡ked making tubs of cement.
Covarrubias rec¿lled for the 1940s:
'"\
e had good times togeth€f,. There was a boy who had a
c¿¡, and he d¡ove us an),rüh€re to h¿ve dinner, or going to
for men attending dancing clubs and brothels.(l
da¡c€." Saturdays were main days
l)
Other Micho¿cán migrad accounls in 1924 concuring the patriotic parties that the
Mexican colony celeb¡ated every year at the Lincoln Park. ln addition several social and
9I
civic activities took place at Belvedere and Ma¡avilla Park: a "Gallo" strolling the st¡eets in
the ea¡ly morning, and a Serenata stafing at eight p fn. at Brooklyn and MacDonald corner.
A Baile Publico took place at Belvede¡e at eight p.m. Castillo and other fireworks set ofl'at
Lincoln Pa¡k and Belvedere at
l0 p.m.
Other amusements were the theater, lhe cinema,
and sporting events. The Caballero Yurecua, fiom Michoacán, was matched as a boxer in
ldle l920g Salvador Sotelo recalls Mexican singers, Maria G¡eever and political exile
Adolfo de la Hue¡ta perfo¡ming at the Mexico Theater, on Main street. In Los A¡geles,
some fri€nds invited him to atterid services at thei¡ Baptist church.(l2)
The Mariache as an idenlit],.
Mexican peasant music has old roots in Califo¡nia. Music accompanied the west
Mexican mig¡ants ar¡d settled to Los Angeles- Mariacheros, Mariache performers arrived
íiom the small cities a¡d towns of Jalisco and Mchoacán to Boyle Heights in East Los
Angeles.
Mexican identity was reinforced by music. Through migfation Mexican peasant
musio was infused and transmitted from generation to generation in a give-¡eceive process.
Da¡ce was another west Meúcan tradition that informed popular culh¡¡e in Los Angeles
India4 Europer.n and Añican backg¡oun4 during thr€€ Meslizo steps in the Mariache dance
in which each ethnic element conferred
rh¡hr\
ftavor and co1or.(13) Finally, and by means
mass medi4 Mariache p€neü'ated the popula¡ cultural a¡ena. Thus reinforcing
of
wes Mexican
t¡aditions and cont¡ibuting to c.r¡ltu¡al formation in I-os Anggles.
Examining the changes and continuities of this dynamic process of musical cultural
infusion in Los Angeles is one aspect ofthe Mchoac¿¡ mig¡atory process. Understanding the
92
process
of the Mariache diffusior¡ its expansion in Mexico and in southern California is
¡evealirig about the signs and syrnbols elaborated, accepted and shared by a significant
number
of Michoacán
mig¡ants.
Ma¡iache co¡stitutes a social context which incorporates fiesta, music, musicians,
dancg dancers and speclators. Mariache was known as fandango prior to the mid
nineteenth
century. Fandango is a Bantu Africa¡ word meaning chaos, among
the
Mandinga connotes an invitation to a party. Fandango and Mariache in National Mexican
society include the music but also the various t)rpe ofinstruments used to create the music
such as stririg percussion o¡ tambo¡a and b.ass inst¡uments.(14)
Initially and historically Fandangos or Mariaches were rural phenomena. Urban
spectator often c¡mmented on the orchestratiorL tone, rh¡hms and costumes
of
th€
performers. In Guadalajara, Jalisco, in 1888, the residents of the city complained ofan
itinerant theater company who bothered them with
'?
noise of a worthless and ridiculous
madachi in the street, all the day long, and the tambora is hea¡d a hundred meters fa¡
a¡ound.'( l5)
Mariaches were viewed by authorities as being disruptive and threatening to the
populace. Authorities forbade estate ow¡re¡s to allow mariaches or fandangos to be
performed. They were considered unsafe ¿musements. In MichoacÁr¡ at the beginriing
of
the 20ú Century, the local governmer¡t wamed prefectures fo prohibft, in seve¡al small
villages, estates and ranches, 'barticula¡ly in those of lowlands during the rodeos and
herraderos, dances which peasants denomin ate mqriqches a¡d
which people ofrude manne¡s concur."
(ló)
93
i¡
olher pleaes fqdangoq lo
Frequently due to the consumption of chinguirito, tepache, charanda, mezcal or
tequila tragic events occuñed in Ma¡iaches or Fandangos. Moreover, a tamborazo of
Mariache
a paradoxical music
Revolutions impell€d people
oflove
and
war-, took pan in
the g¡eat Mexican rebellion.
to ñigrate, and consequently transformed
commu¡ities'
cultu¡al values. Migrants and politicians ofthe occident during those years appealed to the
¡ural traditions to frengthen the Mariache presence in the cities.
ln the 1920s the name Fandango is ofiicially changed to Mariache through €fforts
by the gove.nment. The process of urbaniz¿tion and peas¿nt migration modified its
pattems. Several Mariache musicians stayed in the countryside, others moved to the cities
where they were hired by entertainment compades. Eventually Ma¡iache music in the
cities will be transformed by the mass media.(I7)
Ma¡iache music a¡rived to Southem Califomian with migrants who proceeded from
certral and westem Mexico. Peas¿nt music invigorated the daily life ofmigrants and thus
influenced identity. Traditional ñusic was reinforced by public audit¡ons of orquefas
típicas in the Los Angeles. The use ofthe guitar, the phonograph and, consequently, the
RCA or Columbia 78 .pm records at home ¡einfo¡ced such tradition as
well.
Migrants
purchased phonographs by rnaking small down payments. Credit facilitated mig¡ants to
purchase phonographs. While Mexicans in the U.S. decoraled their homes, people in the
Mexican countryside could not acquire
th€m.
However, repatriated af.d braceros
transported such devic€s to Mexico. Migrants took to Mexican song books to the United
States which reinforced reciprocal, cultural musical bonds.(18)
Beyond the bo¡der, the l¡rics of Mariache were protracted in p¡inted song books,
the music in 78 rpm reco¡ds; also in th€ rhythms performed by the orquesta tipicas and
94
o¡chgst¡as that livened
up dance ¡ooms in Southem Califomia. later, the
Mariache
musicians d¡essed standard charro costumes were incorporated in show business. Silvest¡e
Vargas and his group conducted performances in a tour in Los Angeles in 1940. Other groups
performing in l,os Angeles included Reyes de Chapala. Full time Mariache music performers
were nteg¡ated later. Mariache performers departed flom such points as Ocotlán, the tourist
center of Ch¿pala, the old Carrillo Square in Morelia, the Ma¡ket of San Juan de Dios in
Guadalajara and the Garibaldi Plaza in Mexico City.(19)
Ma¡iache¡os from the Mexican count¡yside were also d¡awn to the music scene in
I¡s
A¡geles. ln the 1940s and even befo¡e there were Ma¡iache performers who settled in the
capital
city. St eet Ma¡iache
groups
üthout
tambora and frequeÍdy without harps, slrolled
fair towns and ba¡rio festivals. Musicians playing in unsafe spaces in the b¡othels
ofla
in
Ba¡ca,
Guadalajar4 Moreli4 Ocotlá¡! Tama.a¡14 Uruapa\ Zamot4 Zs{.otlán in c€ntral and weslem
Mexico were dr¿wn to perform in bars tave¡ns, restaurants and the¿ters. In Los Angeles
workers searched
for
amus€ments
in
bars, saloons, dancidg roorns, drive-in cinemas,
theaters.(20)
In the 1950s due the acc€le¡ated industrializatiorL the attractive Los Angeles with
million a¡rd a half people in
19.10,
nnked among the four top urban concentrations in the
United States. l,os Angeles became üe first city with the largest Meúcan population outside
ofMexico. The city was rejuvenared by immigraÍts ofc€ntral
and westcrn Mexico.
In Mexico, the Compañia Mexicana de l,uz y Fuerza Motriz, the Eléctric¿ Chapala,
Eléctrica Morelia, Hidroelectrica Occidental the Compañia del Duerq and the Compañia
Hidroeléctrica Guanajuatense, proüded power for the populations in central and west Mexico.
95
Villages and several small Michoacán localities had electricity. Electricity made possible
entertainment at home, in theaters, cinemas, radio stations, and television sudios.
Indust¡ial and technical development made possible an accumulating of radio and
teleüsions. Phonographs, radio viarolas, battery and alternate orrrent radios continued to be
brought by laborers between 1942 a¡d l9ó4. Howwer, in September of 1944, the RCA firm
established stores in Mexico City, and agencies in Guadalajara and Morelia among other cities
to s€ll and fix AM radio and television s€ts. 10,000 out of 42,000 tequested television
we¡e imponed to Mexico
in 1950. From
data acquired in the censuses
sets
of 1950 and 1960 it is
known that 186,975 white and black TV sets were made in Mexico in l9ó5 and 373,897 sets
in 1970.(21)
Teleüsio¡r programs c¿tered to large ar¡dience in
tietr4" was
a
l¡s
Angeles and Mexico. "Así es mi
poplla¡ ¡adio prog¡am on M€úc¿n music in the e3¡ly lfbos. In 1965 KMEX-
TV channel 34 t"¡smitted in Spanish in Los Angeles. Ch¿onel 34 covered
Orange coünties, the West part
ofsa¡ Bemardino
l¡s
and Rivercide, and the e3s
Angeles and
ofthe Ver¡tuta.
The 'Noch$ Tapatias" progmm (Guadalajara Nigtrts) and the teleüsion novels, several
them on ru¡al topics for example, entertained the
l¡s
Angeles television viewers. The
consoles (radio rec¡rd player) had demand;72,819 sets were produc€d
157,906
of
h
1965 increasing to
in 1970- On the otl¡er har4 the prcduction ofradios diminished; lowered the
series
from E51,068 to 668,044 due pa¡tly the previous impon from U.S. thar laborers made and to
rhe a¡r¡ou¡Í
ofmdios for a¡¡tonDbiles thst ¡ncr€as€d from 62.7N lo l&,674122)
The record player or ponable phonographs, r€gir€red as products Made in Mexico
were coüted 42.350 in
l
5
aj¡¡d
64.294 io 1970. The produc'tion of¡ecords
Stitl in 1950 th€re were 78 rpm records fo¡ phonogr&phs and jukeboxes
96
i¡
drc
increased.
fondas, restaurants,
bars and tavems; in the following years the 45 rpm 7 inches records, as well the LP
33
ll
3
rpm l0 i¡ches apps¡ed, in 1958 the LP 33 1/ 3 rpm 12 inches already were in the market in
Mexico City and in the whole country.(23)
During this period the countryside elite suit or imitation cha¡ro, sarape and hat
costumed the Ma.iache performe¡s. The rural music by means of urban arrangements is
softened, sones, rdrrc¿e¡a songs, co.ridos (Mexica.n ballads), malagueñas, gustos, huapangos,
bolas and valonas. Due to the request of the
'!ublic," boleristas began to sing rancher4
country musig accompanied by Mariache groups in the countryside-city conce¡ts.
Ma¡iacheros created co¡troversy among
a
variety
of
sectors
of the Mexican
population. The National Cha¡¡o Association in Mexico City protested the use of Cha¡¡o
among Ma¡iacheros clothes. Professiona.l musicians complained because the ranchero music,
encouraged and diftrsed
by the media and the
musical review theaters, expanded
'lncontrollably." The rual Mexic¿n popular musical tradition
a¡gued
has
old and riah ¡oots but they
"ifs cunent monst¡ous proliferation more by publicity, in which songs and music for
dancing a¡e its best allies."(24)
However, presentations and ¡eco¡dings cultivated
'h tea¡fuI feeling or exalting
of machismo" but sometimes they allowed "melodies and rh¡hms of languid or
boasts
asse¡tive
beauty''. City and countryside people conserved Meúcan music in dilsttar¡tes' memory, in
recordg and in song books- Song book became very popula¡ in home entertainme¡t. The
Picot song book was very l¿milia¡ in Mchoac.in and
ir Jalisco.(2s)
Apatzingáú! Chapal4 Guadalajar4 Moreli4 Tlaquepaque and Uruapan offer
spec't¿cula. presence
of groups, outside of Mexico City. Th€ appeal of Mariache music is
illustrated by U.S. interesú in reco¡ding the Mariache tradition. In February 1954 Sam Eskim
97
recorded Mariache music in Güibaldi Square, Apatzingán and Erongarícuaro; Joseph Raul
Hellme¡ who left deep print in the field research offolklorg undertook his study before 1956.
In
l
0 Cha¡les ard Ma¡tha Bogert also reco¡ded'1he street musiC'ir¡ situ in Chapal4 the
ancient Meca ofMa¡iache groups. The Bogerts noted
Mariachi bands play for moÍey, for weddings and for fiestas. The music they make
is peculiar to Mexico.(26)
In central and westem Michoacán before 1960s it was common lo
see Mariache
performers in tavems and in b¡othels. Atso the radio stations from Morelia, zsl'norc. and
Uruapan broadcasted Ma¡iache music. Both R¿dio Gallito and Radio Rancherita in
Guadalajar4 as well in XEW, the Voice of l¿tin America from Mexico City, and in KFOX
KFVD, KM[R, KCFJ, KGER a¡d KWKW radio stations from los Angeles aired Mexican
music. Radio stalions ericouraged the talent c!ntests.(27)
Commercialization of other popular forms conti¡ued in Mexico. Other musical forms
slch
as
the carc€leñas, corridos and o1d colonial songs as charaperas or coamiloras i¡lluenc€d
musical arrangements by composers and "artistic
directon' in Me,\ico City during the
1950s.
The market op€n€d up a¡d the showbusiness compades p¡ofited ñom it. Standa¡dization
instruments and tools also began.
cosh¡mes and
In the cities show
of
business companies r€plac€d the
app€ra¡ce ofMa¡iache perfo¡mers to make them rDore like the Ranchero elite
or the old t)?ical orchestras' costumes. Propaganda and publicity influenced in fo¡ging the
Mariache symbol starting from the alteño Char¡o model. Meanwhile, ja¡abes a¡d several
sones went
out of musical repeno¡ies, a¡mngements of few sones and songs were made
(m¿ir y ad¡ptatiors a¡d abbreüatioris ofthem due to economic and technical reasoas). The
recordings passed tlfough the borders. Also caritadoras, musicians and Mariache perfo¡me¡s
98
ilom central and west Meúco
sta¡ted
to leave for Califomia during the 1930s, 1940s
and
1950s.(28)
The Padilla Siste¡s exemplified a typical case of such emigration ofmusicians to reside
in Califomia. They were part of cantores and
c¿ntadoras tradition
in Michoacán involving
entire families to be proficient in singing and playing cord instruments. Bom in Tanhuato,
Margarita and Ma¡ía Padilla emigrated to l,os Angeles during the Cristero revolt. Steven Loza
registe.ed that both sisters
began their musical career singing at fundraising benefits for local chu¡ches during
the 1930s. Their first formal recognition came when they won first prize i¡ a talent
contest held at a park in Pico River4 a suburb just east of [¡s Angeles. Soon
afterward, they appeared on the l,os Angeles-based ¡adio show ofRamón B. A¡naiz.
During the Bracero program of the 1940s, the Mexican Consulate, which provided
Mexican entertainñent for the workerq asked the Padilla sifers to sing at the
fields.(29)
Nati Canq a performer from Guadalajar4 previously played with Mariache Chapala
in Mexicali. He accounted his experience in Los Angeles in 1957 working in
a
tavem
a dollar a song another dollar, anoiher song and if the cuslomer wanted the süne
song ten times, w€ played the same sor¡g, and if somebody wanted a polka in o¡d€r
to da¡cg we played a polka in order to dance.(3O)
The movie industry also played a role (i.e.. 'The
I¡nd of the Ma¡iachi,"
a Mcxican
movie of I 940 showin8 "legitimare ¡egional sorgs, music and pretty wom€n') in tr¿¡sforming
the popular tradition. The modalities of the "a¡tistic ca¡avans" o¡ va¡iedades made their
appe¿rance in theaten, cinemas, bullfight rings
Angeles well kno
n
a.rtists such as Felipe
in Mexico and beyond the bo¡de¡. In l-os
a¡d Rosa, Hermanas Padilla, fucardo Fieno,
Adelina Garci4 David Duval, Trio Dura¡go, Trio Calaveras, Lalo Guenero, Dueto Azul,
Quinteto los Tequileros, Ma¡iachi Mexico and orhers performed at the Califomi4 Aáec4
99
Mason and Maya theaters during the 1940s and 1950s. Several of thenl including Rosa
Michoacan4 Mariachi los Reyes de Chapala and Ma¡iachi l-os Camperos p€rformed in the
1960s at the
Million Dollar Theat€r as well. The Mariache tradition was nourished by
"variedades" in palenques in Mexico during the 1970s and in jamaicas or ke¡messes, barrio
fi€stas, school festivals, talent contests, and popular fairs.(31)
In the 1970s, the Jitguerillas ofNuma¡án conti¡ued the Michoacan tradition chartered
by Hermanas Padilla to sing at the fields of California and in Mexican fiestas. As well as
Banda music became a part of Meúcan musical entertai¡ment. Los Angeles populalion
encouraged its own Tipica orchestras aod Mariache groups as Ma¡iachi San Jua4 Los
Camperos and Los Galleros. Other groups proceeded to come to l,os Angeles such as
Ma¡iachi Jalisco, Mariachi de la Ciudad del Niño, Ma¡iachi de Chuy López and the
Mariachi Imperial of Gabriel l¡yva.(32)
Furthe¡more, other cycle ofMa¡iache
lnstrumentation consisted
tndition continued to
of four violins, guita¡róq
be performed in the cities.
ha¡p, vihuela, guit¿r
trumpets, a¡d the musicians evenly uniformed "f¡om head to feet.
"
of six strings,
The Ma¡iache has become
a significant element of identity, particularly in 5 de Mayo and 16 de Septiembre. A
Mexican fiesta mea¡t listening to homeland music. According to a bracero information, the
immigration authorities c¿me to use the Mariache music to catch undocumented Mexican
workers in dances or parties during the operation v,¡etback.(33)
Meúc¿n women in Los Angeles while working at home played Mexican music
"porque la música da energia." In Los Angeles neighborhoods weekerids are days to spend
time
in the Mexic¡na alegría
when the Mariache music
is
essential
to.
Daily or
exceptionally Mexican people share symbols ¡elated to music. The geoeration of Linda
t00
Rosta¡dt's father enjoyed Lucha Reyes', Pedro Infante's, Jorge Negrete's, the Zaizar
Brothers' or José A.lfredo's songs. Popular coÍsumption of Mari¿che music was evident in
the 1980s.(34) The film EI Ma¡iachi by Chicano filmmaker Robert Rodriguez revealed
meaningful significance- Ma¡iache festivals dedicated to Sa¡rta Cecilia in Boyle Hights
accrued First and Lorena Street to become e popular site to audition musicians for the
Mercsdito. The Ma¡iache Plaza ¡nd the Museum ofMariache project in East
gives testament to
I
I¡s
Aryeles
peasant musical tradition that has a long historical presence which has
peneÍ8ted the fibers of regional and nation¿l ideotity in the Modcslt community of
Angeles.
l0l
l¡s
Notes
1.- L. Gc'nzírlez. 1980. Interview with Juana Serrano León, Jiquilpan, February 12,
1991. Conducted by Alvaro Ochoa Serrano. Interview üth Manuel Méndez Rami¡ez,
JiqLrilpan, June 8, 1991. Misiones Culturales de la Sec¡eta¡ía de Educación Pública spread
sports in Mexico. Mig¡ants emphasized on practicing baseball.
2.- L. Mendieta y Nuñez. 1940, p 144-145. Garcia. 1994, p 187.
l.- L. Velasco Vargas.1945.p
4-
A
12.
Ochoa. 1978. L. Velasco Va¡gas.1945, p 12. Los Angeles Tirnes. Febniary 8,
1998.
5.-. Martínez Escoba¡. 1946,p.21. Stanil¿wski, p. 67. Arciga.
6.- C. Lumholtz.lgoz,
Il:
375-376.
M. Gamio.
1930,
1981.
p 2l'1. L.
Mendieta y
Nuñez.1940, p 149, 163.
7.- M. Márquez Durán. 1944, 49-50. Charand4 tequila and beer were common in
saloons in possession of a jukebox. Youngsters sta¡ted sñoking marijuana in several
tow¡s In fact, district and loc¿l authorities complained of migrants' misconduct since the
beginning of206 cenrury. AMZ Gobemación 1907,exp22l.
8.- L. Mendieta y Nunez. 1940. J. Nunez y Dominguez cited in A. Mejia. 1928.
Inte.view with Juan Perez Morfiq Nueva Itali4 Mich., October 8, 1992.
9.- J. Gudiño Villanueva.1974, p. 123-131.
10.- Ibid.,
p. l3O 13l. L. Gar:zález. 1974. Rodeo, gathering and recounting ofthe
livestock, place where counting the births, marking the breeding and selecting the breed
destined for reproductio¡ or fo¡ sale- Jaripeo. Exextio¡. ansisting in ¡u¡ning a horse to
throw the reata to the feet of the (,8'ttIe. Henadeto, pl&ce where marking the breeding with
buming iron.
11.- Interview with Jesús Cova¡rubias, Montebello, Ca., November 24, 1994. Gamio
Collection Z-R 5, 3: 12. UCB Bancroft Librsry.
12..- Sotelo. 1996, p 23,3334 Ia Opinion Sepfet bq 16, 1926. Gamio
Collection Z-R 5, 2:8, 3:12. Popular artist Romualdo Tirado used to play El Peladito.
13.-
A
Ochoa Selrano. 1994.
14.- Ibid., 1994, 79-81
107
15.- EI
Litigante, Gvadalaja¡a, Jal., Ja¡uary 10, 1888.
16.- A. Ochoa Senano. 1994,p.82
17.- Ibid., p 85-86. F. Toor. 1934.
los
18.- IÁ Opiúon 1930, Advertisemenl Section. Interview with Enrique Navarro.
Argeles, Ca. June 1981. Conducted by Alvaro Ochoa Se.¡ano.
19.- L<t Opinión, May 5, 1930. Salvado¡ Sotelo. 199ó. Interview v¿ith Jesús
CovaÍubias. Montebello, Ca., November 24, 1994.
20.- A. Ochoa Serrano . 1997 , p . 162-163 .
21.- INEGI. 1985,1.
Lt Opinion,
Augtst 20, 1950.
22.- J. A. La¡e. 1966. INEGL 1985, L lnterview with María Vázqu,ez, Los
Angeles, Ca. May 22, 1995. Conducted by Alvaro Ochoa Ser¡ano.
23.- INEGI. 1985, I. Inte¡view
Zamo¡4 Mich., Janua¡y 1994.
üth
Ma.ría Socor¡o Morales, vendedor¿ de discos,
24.- Revisla Mexicana de Cultura. México,Novembe¡-Dec€mber 1956, Num. 8: 5859
25.- Ibid. Taylos Collection PQ7260 C6. UCB Banc¡oft Library. krterview with
Salvador Senano, Los Angeleg Ca.. November 25, 1995. Author's personal memories.
2ó.- C. and M. Bogert. l%0. Mariachi Aguilas de Chapal4 Folkways Records, LP
FW 8870. S. Eskim. 1954. Müiachi Ntusic of Mexico, Cook Records, LP 5014. J. R
Hellme¡. Sores of Mexico, Sung by Trio fuuilillas. Folkways Records, FW 6815
27.-
Michqqiu,Mo¡eli4
28.-
A
January 1954, I:3.
Ochoa Senano . 1997, p. 167.
kt
Ia Opinio4 May 1940.
Opinion,1930, 1940, 1950.
29.- S.l-a2a.1993, p- 34-35. T. Mi¡ón. 1982. On cantadoras, see reference in M. T.
García. 1994, p 187.
30.-
Ia Opinion,NoyeÍrber
31.-
Ia Opinion, s¡,oial life
32--
L!] Opinion 196Q May 5, 1970.
21, 1993. Espectaculos.
section from the 1930s
103
to
1970s
33.- S.R PearlmarL pp. 6162. herview with Emique Navarro. Alhambr4 Ca.
Novemb€r 21, 1981. Conduc,ted by Alva¡o Ochoa Serrano. I¡rterview with Ju&na Se¡rano
Leon. Jiquilpan, Mich., Oclober 14, 1989.
34.- Idarview with Maria
E.
Senano Los A¡geles, Ca. March
Conducted by Alvaro Ochoa Se¡¡ano
104
31,
1996.
CHAPTER 6
CONCLUSION
Beneath the su¡face ofthe consta¡t Mexican migration towards the Unites States,
with its highs and lows and va¡iable dist¡ibutio4 is the personal reality ofthe mig.ant. The
demand for a workforce in the Uriited States has been one of the faoto.s of attractio¡.
Geography undoubtedly is anothe¡ factor that must be taken into account give the
proximity of the two count¡ies. The job netwo¡ks established since last century between
west Meúco and Califomi4 as well as old family ties continue functioning. On the other
hand, the illusion ofrealizing a dream, the perception
ofa
challenge among the young or
to
fulfiII a desi¡e of knowing other lands play a decisive role in migration. There a¡e those in
Mchoac.án who sell all that they to emigrate to the No¡th.
The used statistics do not distinguish the geographic or regional origin of the
Mexican migrants in the U.S. The distinctions are acknowledged by the migfant g¡oups
themselves in thei¡ social inle¡actions and cultu¡a.l ma¡ifestations. The Mexica¡ migation
has become one
ofthe largest in the United States. Some general data used in an article by
los Angeles Times
on January
l,
1998 counted mo¡e th¿n 7 million Mexican-bom people
now residing in the United States, with the vast riajority ofMexica¡ migraats aniving after
1970. 'Natives of Mexico outnumbe¡ the next largest immig¡ant group, Filipinos, by
aLnost 6
to
1, and
acrount for more than one-fourth ofall fo¡eign bom U.S. ¡esidents."
Howeve¡ Mexican ifiJnigration to the Unifed States has flowed for more than a
century. Michoacanos have been pres€nt th¡oughout this proc€ss, and have been coming
105
to Califomia since the Gold Rush Califomia primarily, as well Texas and Mid West have
been destinations
for them.. A significant number of Michoacanos flowed in during the
Bracero P¡ogram. Michoacanos have settled in the countryside and cities of the state.
Jalisco, Michoacán and. Zacateaas migrants were ra¡ked top in Los Angeles' Mexican
population. According to Mexic¿r consulate records, Michoacanos followed after those
Jalisco in Los Angeles. A sample taken between June and December
the predominant origins
of
of 1992 indic¿tes that
ofthe migrants from northwest Michoacán are Jiquilpan, Zamora,
Villamar, La Piedad, Purépero and Sahuayo. This info.matiorL in some w¿ys, reamrms the
stability ofthese very old pattems of migratior¡.
History and biography were both linked in this work to give account on ofthe lives
of Mchoacanos as they moved
between Los Angeles and Michoacán.
mat
was
considered iñpo¡t¿nt was the material culture as well as the signs and symbols they shared.
Michoacanos are more than a simple work fo¡ce
or a source of dollars sent in
money
orders to the homeland. Ilfichoacán migants c¡eate, recre¿te signs, and symbols that
intercha¡ge ¡eciprocally between these two disparate places where they live, in their work
and in thei¡ leisure actMties.
üll
Mchoac.tr migrants are involved in a dlnamia p¡ocess that
continued as long as mig¡ation continues between thei¡ homeland and the land ofthe
No¡th.
t06
APPENDICES
Glossary
Aft o s a : hoof-nd-mouth disease.
Agtardiente. "burning water". The cheapest and more inferior of distilled
liquors, made from the juice ofsugarcane.
Itol¿: a sweet gruellike com d¡ink.
Barno: ury one of the quafers ofa town or city.
Birctq: roasted calf, goat or sheep.
Cacique: a loc political boss.
Calzón: the white, pajamalike cotton trousers formerly
wom by Mexican
peasan¡s and artisans.
Cdp¡rotada: bread cubes dipped
in
batter a¡d deep-frred, served with a
cin¡amon sauce and pine nuts.
Carnitas: tender pieces offried pork, used as a filling for tacos.
Castillo: a towerlike fiamework of bamboo, on which an elaborated fireworks
display is mounted.
Charanda: an aguardiente from Michoacán (a Purépecha word).
Chaneada: a Charro exhibition.
Charro: the t¡aditional Mexican horseman.
Chicharrones: cracklings; crisp bits ofpork remaining after the la¡d is rendered.
China: a formet cast system name for A.frican descendants; gd attired in the
fiadítional china poálan d coshme.
Chongo: altxnp of sweet, cheeselike pudding, served with s1,rup and cinnamon
Clraripo: a spicy soup based on vegetables and meat (a Purépecha word).
Compadrazgo: the bonds uniting parents and godparents.
Corrido: a taditio¡al and typical Mexican type ofnarative popular song.
Corunda: small tamal made of corn meal wrapped in comhusks (a Purépecha
word).
Criollo: a person of Spanish blood bom in America.
Cristero: a member of the "Army of Ch¡ist" rebelled against the Mexica¡
anticlerical legislation.
Ecuaro: a plot of ground clea¡ed for planting (a Purépecha word). lt is the
equivalent ofthe Nilftuatl coamil.
Ejido: land handed over to farmers when the large estates were broken up at the
time of the Agrarian Reform. It is held in common by ejidatarios who have the
right to use it but not to sell it.
r07
Guitartón: a six-string bass guitar.
Huaraches : leather sandals.
Ja¿al: a hut, countryside house.
Jarabe: abnsk, intricate dance perfonn by a couple.
Jocoque: the cwd of ¡aw milk.
Mariache: a Mexican tlpe of strolling musical g¡oup; formerly a fandango
which included a wooden board, musicians, da¡cers a¡d spectators.
Metafe: a rectang)lar mortar ofpitted stone for grinding com for tortillas.
Minguiche: curds or sour c¡eam mixed with cheese a¡d chiles.
Mole: a tlnck sauce for meat or poultry, made with chili, spices, and sometimes
unsweetened chocolate
Palsano: a person from the sane tow,n or district as oneselfPaliacate: a bandanna.
Panela: a soft wltste cheese, made in small discs.
Paranguas: stones placed as base to put span and cook on (a Purépecha word)
Pelale: a large straw mat
Posadas: the traütional Christrnas reenactment of the Holy Family's search for
lodging, often performed by children.
Po:ole: a spicy soup ofpork and hominy.
Ranchera: a kind of lively "country" music, usually performed by singers
accompanied by a Mariache ba¡rd.
Ranchería: a cluster ofhouses in the country.
Ranchero: a landowner.
Rancfto: rural propriety of more than l0 and less than 1,000 hectares.
R¿áo;o; the hadiüonal Mexica¡ shawl.
Requesón: a kind ofcottage cheese.
Serenata: the traditional Sunday-evening band concef, with groups of young
people strolling around the plaza.
Sopes: snacks made of tiny tortillas topped with refried beans, shredded cheese,
and sliced radishes.
Tapanco: m allic,used for storing grain and fodder.
Tascal: a basket made of com bulk or bamboo to keep tortillas (a NriLhuatl
word).
Toquera: xnall tornllas covered with crumbled sausage and cheese,
Torito: a frgre of bamboo and paper in the shape of a bull, strurig witl small
rockets. A ma¡ puts it over his head and shoulders and chargers through the
crowd, spouting fire and scaftering spectators.
Torreznos: bits of crisp bacon.
108
Tostadas: crisp-fried tortillas topped with refried beans, shredded cheese,
ground meat, lettuce or cabbage, sliced onions, chiles, and nearly anything else.
Valona: poplx songs or compositions made up of recitatives accompanied by
musical chords (Arpa Grande).
Source: Luis Gonziíl ez. 197 4. Trans. John Upton.
t09
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