Rosario Lozania Rosas
Rosario Lozania Rosas was born in Urique on the 3rd of March 1909 and knew the regime of Don Porfirio Diaz[i]. Mexican President at the time. She recalls that the Presidente Municipio (County President) Buenaventura Brecua was a compadre[ii] of Presidente Diaz. Brecua was owner of all the mines and lands near Urique. When someone was guilty of misbehaving in public he was sentenced to 6 days of labor in the mines or foundry. If someone stepped into Brecua’s way on the street, Brecua would have him shot. Brecua collected one tenth of all the crops and had a company store where his workers could sign for what the needed and have it deducted on payday.[iii]
Today everything has changed. Tarahumaras who once wore shirts of manta (coarse, poor quality cotton) and taparrabos (similar to a loin cloth) now wear good shoes, a fine shirt, a watch and frequently carry a boom box. Doña Rosario said in closing “We have much to eat and our good government has placed Conosupo[vii] stores here. Food can be brought to my door and water arrives at one’s house in a hose. We have land to work and those who work for the benefit of others receive allotments of food.”
[i] Porfirio Diaz was President of Mexico from 1876 to 1911. His rule was enforced by his personal police force, los rurales, who covered all of Mexico. Considered by many to be more of a dictator than president, he had a practice of appointing his cronies to key local, state, and federal positions. Discontent with Diaz is credited with being one of the main reasons for the start of the Revolutionary War, celebrated each November 20th.
[ii] Compadre = Godfather, a term used between men when one of them has baptized the other’s child.
[iii] If this company store was like most at the time, workers never had enough free money to escape their debt and frequently worked in virtual servitude.
[iv] The number of days may be slightly in error as different days should have been required for the various destinations.
[v] Many of these plants do not have English names, nor does the author (Doug Rhodes) have any idea what they are.
[vi] Ejido = a pueblo with common public land. The dates given in this paragraph may be off.
[vii] Conosupo, now Diconsa: a chain of government sponsored stores providing basic foodstuffs at reasonable prices.
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