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Greeley, Colorado: A Divided City

From: Caroline Harding
Length: 26:48

How hispanic labor helped build a city, and the divide that exists there

Default-piece-image-0 Greeley, Colorado, gained national attention when ICE made it's well publicized raids on Swift Plants in December 2006. It became part of the national dialogue on immigartion issues. Ricardo Romero, a long-time resident of Greeley talks about the history of hispanic labor in Greeley and what it owes to them. Romero is descended from a long line of Metitzo native people and talks about the history of hispanics in America. Romero is also a long-time activist whose organization, Al Frente de lucha (In front of the Struggle) operates out of the historic Richardo Falcon center in Greeley. Romero speaks frankly about the racial divide in the city, but also believes more education about hispanic history and help create a better understanding between the two cultures.

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Piece Description

Greeley, Colorado, gained national attention when ICE made it's well publicized raids on Swift Plants in December 2006. It became part of the national dialogue on immigartion issues. Ricardo Romero, a long-time resident of Greeley talks about the history of hispanic labor in Greeley and what it owes to them. Romero is descended from a long line of Metitzo native people and talks about the history of hispanics in America. Romero is also a long-time activist whose organization, Al Frente de lucha (In front of the Struggle) operates out of the historic Richardo Falcon center in Greeley. Romero speaks frankly about the racial divide in the city, but also believes more education about hispanic history and help create a better understanding between the two cultures.

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Review of Greeley, Colorado: A Divided City

Until this November our presidential campaign will be locked in ferocious debates about the issue of immigration. The Republicans have staunchly contended that, for Mexicans without green cards, amnesty (which Ronald Reagan favored), is a heinous policy. The Democrats have been less negative, but no Dem wants to sound too friendly to south-of-the-border undocumenteds.

Caroline Harding's interview of 72-year-old American-born activist Ricardo Romero is redundant in places and could be cut by 10 minutes. But it is spot-on about the mid-sized city of Greeley, long an agricultural hub of northeast Colorado. In recent decades Greeley has become home for thousands of Mexicans. These "bueyes" (steers), as Mexicans call one another, have worked like oxen to make millionaires of local moguls like the Monforts and the Websters. Nonetheless, certain "pinches gabachos" (my derogatory term for Americans) continue to refer to Mexicans as gang bangers, drug dealers, or welfare abusers.

According to Romero, American attitudes toward Mexicans stem not from racism as much as from pure hatred. The fact that, since 1999 the United States has been a million workers short every year; the fact that 50 billion bucks in Social Security funds are not claimed (by wetbacks) every year; the fact that Mexicans spend 48 billion dollars every year on shopping sprees here in this country -- all this is something xenophobic Yanks don't know or won't admit. The immigration issue is, Romero argues, a "smokescreen" that blinds us from such truly important issues as the war in Iraq, where we've spent close to a trillion dollars and have hurt our economy more than any herd of bueyes could hurt it.

Thanks to Romero's organization, Al Frente de Lucha (In Front of the Struggle), Greeley's gabachos may learn about our close relationship with Mexico: the fact, for example, that the names of such states as Colorado, Arizona, and Nevada all are Spanish terms; the fact that the words, "bronco," "corral," and "lariat," have Spanish roots; the fact that the railroad trains making background noises during Harding's interview are loaded with crops and livestock all scrupulously cared for by bueyes.

To PDs, I say: "Que no sean mamones. Air this piece."

Broadcast History

Broadcast on KRFC FM, Fort Collins 12/17/07

Timing and Cues

30 music break half-way through for station ID

Musical Works

Title Artist Album Label Year Length
son de la liberacion los de abajo live in LA. Warner 2004 :30