Farmworker Movement Documentation Project - Presented by the UC San Diego Library

FRANCISCO GARCIA: FARM WORKER TROUBADOUR Vol.2

 

CESAR CHAVEZ MEMORIAL PARK / SAN FERNANDO CA / SCULPTURE BY IGNACIO GOMEZ / PHOTO BY DAVID JIMENEZ

 

Song #1: Marcha En Salinas/ March In Salinas

Play Song

This song written by Francisco Garcia is about the Salinas Lettuce Strike of 1970. Cesar Chavez came to organize workers immediately after the Grape Strike ended in Delano. Cesar was jailed in Salinas for the strike activity. Hundreds of workers joined in the strike and the first lettuce contract signed was with Inter Harvest. This song presents a panoramic picture that recalls some of the moments of that historic event. It might be important to note that this song has other lyrics and additional stanzas from another song by the same title composed by Sr. Garcia.

Es en el año ’70 ya todo el mundo lo sabe
Que se ha ganado la lucha por nuestro gran Cesar Chavez
El lider que siempre lucha por los derechos iguáles

It’s in the year ’70 and everybody has heard
That the struggle has been won by our great Cesar Chavez
The leader who always fights for equal rights

Es en Delano famoso donde la causa empezó
Eso hace unos cuantos años pero el tiempo se llegó
Que saliera victorioso, el triúnfo ya se ganó

It is in famous Delano where our cause began
It’s been a few years but the time finally came
That he should prove victorious, we have overcome.

Al grito de “!Viva Chavez!” pues mucha gente se aníma
Al iniciar una marcha en el Valle de Salinas
A luchar por los derechos de nuestra gente bendita

To the shouts of “Long-live Chavez!” many people are encouraged
To kick-off a march in the Salinas Valley
To fight for the rights of our blesséd people

Al escuchar las noticias, tambien los pueblos vecinos
Se unieron los campesinos, especialmente latinos
Habia allí unas razas, habian niñas y niños

Upon hearing the news even neighboring towns
joined the farm workers, especially the Latinos
There were other races, girls and boys marching

Contra la union de agresivos, que en el Valle de Salinas
Nos venden con los rancheros sin consultar al obrero
Para que los campesinos se traten como braceros

Against a united aggressor who in the Salinas Valley
Sell us out to the growers,
without consulting the workers,
So farm workers can be treated like braceros

Compañeros lechugueros, del apio, y de la fresa
Cooperen con ésta causa porque ésto nos interesa
Nos miran como animales como manada de bestias

Fellow brother lettuce, celery and strawberry workers
Cooperate with this movement because
this concerns us
We are seen as animals, like a pack of beasts

Querémos mejores sueldos, trabajos más bien pagados
No querémos verdúgos ni mayordomos hambriados
No querémos ser vendidos, no querémos ser esclavos

We want better wages, better paid work
We don’t want hachet men or greedy labor contractors
We don’t want to be deceived; we don’t want to be slaves

Nuestros contrarios no les está ‘pareciendo
Que luchémos por el pueblo que los está enriqueciendo
Pero nuestros triúnfos son buenos porque salímos venciendo

Our opponents do not take kindly to us
That we fight for a people who are making them rich
But our struggle is just because we are victorious

Al canto de Venceremos con gran banderas al viento
Llegan de los cuatro rumbos todos a un mismo tiempo
A la cuidad de Salinas con éste gran movimiento

To the song of We Shall Overcome with
Mighty flags fluttering in the wind
All arrive at the same time from all four directions
To join the great movement in the city of Salinas

(Abby F. Rivera/2010)

Song #2 El Ilegal/The Illegal

Play Song

This song written by Francisco Garcia describes the sad lot of workers who enter the United States without any documentation. It is a narrative story of one such person who hungry and desperate to find work finds himself at the mercy of contractors and growers who are in cahoots with the Border Patrol. Brought in as a striker breaker; and suffering various indignities, he makes the ultimate sacrifice to help make life a little easier for the striking picketers he has been listening to out in the fields.

Andando yo en la frontera,
ya me cargaba el hambre
Dicen que la hambre es canija
pero es más al que ya le ande
Me pasé al otro lado por debajo del alambre

Hunger was already tormenting me
They say hunger is brutal
but it’s a lot worse if you’re the desperate one
Finding myself at the border
I crossed under the bobwire & chain link fence to the other side.

A los poquitos momentos me agárra la imigración
Me dice, “Tu eres alambre.”
Le conteste, “Si Señor.”
“Pero no tengas cuidado; tal vez tengas tu razon.”

A short moment later the border patrol caught me
He says, “You are a wire fence jumper?”
I answered, “Yes, sir.”
“Don’t worry; you probably have your reasons.”

Si tu quieres trabajar
Nomás que no seas Chavista
Yo mismo te he de llevar
A donde esté el contratista
Les estamos dando la chansa a todos
Los alambristas.

“If you want to work
Just don’t be a Chavista
I personally will take you
over to the labor contractor.”
“We are giving everybody a chance,
All the wire fence jumpers.”

Nos llevaron para un campo
Con estudiantes de escuela
Rodiados de policia
que provocaban la guerra
Para quebrar una huelga en el Valle de Coachella

Along with students from school,
they took us to a labor field
surrounded by police
who incited trouble in order to end
a strike in the Coachella Valley.

Policias y imigración
Unidos con los rancheros
Consipración contratista
por el maldito dinero
Encontra de nuestra gente
parecian unos perros

For vile money,
A conspiracy was formulated
by the labor contractor.
Police and border patrol
united with the growers
They were like dogs teamed against our people.

Dormiamos ‘bajo las vinas
todos los alambristas
y para peor de la ruina
Nos picaron las avispas
No nos dio ni medicina
el desgraciado contratista

We’d sleep under the vines
All the wire fence jumpers
And as if that wasn’t harsh enough
We’re stung by wasps
And the worthless labor contractor didn’t even give us medication

Luego salímos en huelga para ayudar a la union
y el desgraciado contratista
nos hecho la imigracion
Esposados de las manos
nos llevan a la prison

Soon we went out on strike to make it easier for the union
And the rotten labor contractor
called the border patrol on us.
Handcuffed they take us to jail

Yo les digo a mis amigos
mas vale jalar parejos
Cuando cruzen la frontera
en calidad de conejos
No hay que quebrar la huelga
yo ya me voy y ahí los dejo

I tell my friends,
“It is better to work united.
When you cross the border
Be quick like a rabbit
But don’t be a strikebreaker.”
I’m going now, and here I leave you.

(Abby F. Rivera/2010)

CESAR CHAVEZ & SENATOR ROBERT KENNEDY 1966 / PHOTO FROM GAYANNE FIETINGHOFF COLLECTION

Song #3 Corrido de Delano por Lalo Guerrero (traduccion por Fco. Garcia)/
Ballad of Delano by Lalo Guerrero (rendition by Fco. Garcia)

Play Song

Lalo Guerrero was a professional singer and a good friend of Cesar Chavez. His is the first recording of the Delano Grape Strike of 1965 to hit the airwaves in Delano. Farm workers were extremely excited about the attention it received. It tells the story of the first years of the 1965 grape strike. Included in the lyrics is the visit by Senator George Murphy of California and Senator Robert F. Kennedy of New York who took part in the U.S. Senate Subcommittee labor hearings held in Delano in 1966, which lead to Senator Robert Kennedy’s later public support of the grape strike. At the hearings the senators learned that illegal practices by growers and by law enforcement who aided them infringed the civil rights of farm workers. The song recording was a truly proud moment for the grape strikers who were certain more people now would learn about their plight and help them.

Año del 65, 66 más o menos
Se levanto nuestra gente
En los campos de Delano
Pidiendo mejores sueldos
Por trabajar el terreno.

In the year ’65, ’66, thereabouts
Our people rose up
In the fields of Delano
Calling for better wages
For toiling in the fields.

Estado de California
En el condado de Kern
Se escucharon las palabras,
“Andale paisano ven.
A ingresar al sindicato;
Nos ira mucho más bien.”

In the state of California
In Kern County
The words were heard, “Hurry, brothers, come and join the union;
It will be a lot better for us.”

Por que salimos en huelga?
No es pa que el mundo se asombre.
Esto decia un hombre,
Cesar Chavez es su nombre.
“Solo pedimos lo justo
Y la dignidad del hombre.”

“Why do we go out on strike?
It’s not to amaze anybody.
That’s what a certain man would say,
Cesar Chavez is his name,
We only ask for what’s fair
And for human dignity.”

Estado de California
En el valle San Joaquin
Llamó tanto la atención
Este famoso motín
Que vinieron senadores
A ver si le hallaban fín.

In the state of California
In the San Joaquin Valley
This famous struggle
Drew so much attention
That senators came
To try and find a resolution.

Murphy y Kennedy vinieron
A consultar a nuestra gente
Escucharon las demandas
Y se fueron muy conscientes
De que se trata de un pueblo
Trabajador y decente.

Murphy and Kennedy came
To consult with our people
They listened to our demands
And left keenly aware.
That at the center of it all
Is a hard-working and decent people.

Con el estandard hermoso
De nuestra Guadalupana
Van marchando a Sacramento
Nuestra gente mexicana
A luchar por sus derechos.
Dios bendito haber si ganan.

With the beautiful patron banner
Of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Mexican people
Are marching to Sacramento
To fight for their rights.
Dear Lord, let’s hope they win.

Song #4  Hazañas Valientes de Cesar Chavez Cesar Chavez’ Valiant Feats

Play Song

This song written by Francisco Garcia is a tribute to his hero, Cesar Chavez. It pays homage to Cesar for all the battles against great odds he endured to build a better and more just world for farm workers through a union. He describes Cesar as a man of the century, a good friend of the poor, a man of courage and determination. These are not florid scatterings of meaningless phrases but words of deep respect and gratitude. Sr. Garcia conveys the dignity Cesar brought to farm workers through his sacrifice and through the many courageous battles he fought on their behalf.

Con gusto vengo a cantar
con mucho gusto y esmero
Recordando a un gran hombre
Por su valor de labrero
Su nombre es Cesar Chavez
que lo sepa el mundo entero

With joy I come to sing
with great joy and consideration
Remembering a great man
For his courage as a laborer
Let the whole world know
His name is Cesar Chavez

El es el hombre del siglo
por sus grandes decisiones
Organizó al campesino
y se afrentó a los patrones
Madre mía de Guadalupe
llénalo de bendiciones

He is the man of the century
because of his great determination
He organized the farm worker
and faced the growers
My dear Lady of Guadalupe
fill him with blessings

Buen amigo de los pobres
porque el es hombre muy bueno
Hombre de mucho valor
Su deciso fue en Delano
Luchar por el campesino
por un trato dígno y bueno

A good friend of the poor
because he is a good man
A man of great courage
His decision was made in Delano
To fight for the farm worker
for dignified and fair treatment

Y como en todas las causas
se encuentran oposiciones
La trágala de contratistas
mayordomos y patrones
castigando al pobre
a los mismos trabajadores

And as in all movements
opposition is be found
The hordes of labor contractors
foremen and bosses
punishing the poor
their very own workers

Y a pesar de tánta infámia
la lucha sigue avanzando
Por dondequíera se míran las
aguilitas volando
pues con la ayuda de Diós
Siempre salímos ganando

In spite of so much wickedness
the struggle continues ahead
The little eagles can be seen
flying everywhere
With God’s help
We always result victorious

Ya el le díce a su gente
“La lucha es grande y sabémos
peliar contra el capital.
Éso tambien lo harémos
Con el boicot,
de mundial nosotros venceremos.”

Now he tells his people,
“The fight is enormous and we know
how to fight against the rich;
that we will do, too.”
“With the world-wide boycott.
we will win.”

Son las valiente hazañas
de un gran lider campesino
su nombre es Cesar Chavez
del mundo bien conocido
En los estados unídos el defiende
al campesino

These are the valiant acts
of a great farm worker leader
his name is Cesar Chavez
Everyone knows him well
In the United States he defends the farm worker

(Abby F. Rivera/2010)

DEPRESSION ERA MIGRANT WORKERS / PHOTO FROM GAYANNE FIETINGHOFF COLLECTION

Song #5 Huelga en el Valle Imperial/Strike in Imperial Valley

Play Song

This song composed by Francisco Garcia has all the drama of John Steinbeck’s novel Grapes of Wrath. This deeply moving narrative story recounts events in the 1940 cotton strike in Brawley, California from the perspective of a Mexican who lived the experience. He names people, places, and events. One can only pity the poor traitors that now live in infamy through this song for going against moral values that put their countrymen in harms way. This is a story of farm workers fighting to change their miserable conditions in the fields and to get paid decent wages. But what unfolds is a list of infringements on their basic civil rights, i.e. freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, freedom to bargain collectively. Also, rounded-up and thrown in jail after conveniently being labeled communist. What is truly amazing is that these same tactics were quite evident in Cesar Chavez’ farm worker movement a few decades later.

1940, hubo una confrontación
Todos los trabajadores
En los campos de alogodon
Con sueldos muy miserables
Más los tratos del patron

In 1940, there was a confrontation
All the workers
In the cotton fields
Receiving miserable wages
Plus the bad treatment of the boss

Despúes de tanto sufrir
Se empiesan ha organizar
Todos los trabajadores
En ése Valle Imperial
En ése pueblo de Brawley
Y todo les fué fatal

After so much suffering
They begin to organize
All the farm workers
In that Imperial Valley
In that town of Brawley
And it had deadly results.

Los patrones se endiablaron
Todos con mala intención
Les hablan a los sherifes
Que son de mal corazón
A los trabajadores les quitan
la provision

The bosses became evil
All with bad intentions
They call the sheriffs
That have wicked hearts
They seize the worker’s belongings

Los déspojan del lugar
No podian seguir la lucha
Solicitaron ayuda.
Al mirar las injusticias
Gente caritativa
Atendieron sus denuncias

They remove them from the field in handcuffs
They could not continue the fight
They cried out for help.
Upon seeing the injustice,
Caring people help fight the charges

Jesus Zavalo ofrece con todo su corazón
“Para que allá sean las juntas
yo les presto me salon
para seguír en la lucha o
tengan cualquíer reunion.”

Jesus Zavalo offers with all of his heart,
“So you can hold meetings there
I will loan you my hall
to continue in the struggle or
to use for any gatherings.”

El que les negó la ayuda
Fué el consul mexicano
Hijo de tierra teniente
Contra de los mejicanos
Dicen tarima independiente
No puedo darles la mano

The one who refused to help them
Was the Mexican Consul
Native sons tenants in a foreign land
set against the Mexicans
They say, “It’s a separate issue;
We can’t give you a hand.”

En fín siguieron la lucha
Péro no por mucho tiempo
Maniobras capitalistas
destrúyen el movimiento
Los acusan de comunistas
para quitárles el intento

At last they continued the struggle
But not for much longer
Capitalist handiwork destroy
the movement
They accuse them of being communist
To keep them from their goal

Con unas bombas y gases los esposan del salón
La policia salvaje
Validos de la ocasion
Maltratan al campesino
Sin ningúna compasion

Using smoke bombs and gas they’re taken handcuffed from the hall
The savage police take advantage of the occasion
Without any compassion
They attack the farm workers

Pascual Aceves traidor
Junto con Jesus Chacón
Éran los perros rastreros
Atras del trabajador
Para que hicieran arestos
Ellos dában dirección

The traitor, Pascual Aceves,
Along with Jesus Chacon
Were the low-down, dirty dogs
Who gave out the address
So arrests could be made

Lucio Ojeda decia
Nos ponen mucho pretextos
Nos acusan de comunistas
‘Pa porder hacer arestos
Y ya a muchos compañeros los matan en el disierto

Lucio Ojeda would say
They come up with many pretexts
They accuse us of being communist
So they can arrest us
And now a lot of our brothers are murdered in the desert

Ya con ésta me despido
Es triste de recordar
Éste lo que ha sucedio
En éste Valle Imperial
En ése pueblo de Brawley
La policia es criminal.

Now with this I bid you farewell
It’s sad to remember
This that has taken place
In this Imperial Valley
In that town of Brawley
The police criminally corrupt.

(Abby F. Rivera/2010)

© 2004–2012 Si Se Puede Press

Primary source accounts: photographs, oral histories, videos, essays and historical documents from the United Farm Worker Delano Grape Strikers and the UFW Volunteers who worked with Cesar Chavez to build his farmworker movement.

This site is now being presented and preserved by The Library, University of California San Diego. As of April 10, 2014, there is still some site content and functionality that is being migrated from its original location. We anticipate this work to be completed in the next few months.

The Library presents this material in the context of scholarly fair use. Please see our copyright notice and takedown procedures if you are a rights owner with concerns about this material.