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  • Interview with Ofelia Garcia Cruz / Una Entrevista con Ofelia Garcia Cruz
  • Charles H. Rowell, Marcus Jones, and Florentino Flores Castro
  • Interview with Ofelia Garcia Cruz
  • Charles H. Rowell, Marcus Jones, and Florentino Flores Castro

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Ofelia Garcia Cruz
Mata Clara, Mexico

Photo by Marcus D. Jones © 2007

[End Page 32]

This interview took place on May 13, 2007, in Mata Clara, Veracruz, Mexico.

JONES: Where are you from?

CRUZ: I'm from here. I'm from Yanga.

JONES: Will you talk a bit about racism here?

CRUZ: Yes. We are discriminated against because of color, primarily by white people. They're the ones who discriminate against us. Seeing how I married a black person, like me, the discrimination makes me angry. My children are dark-skinned, like me.

JONES: How do white people discriminate against you?

CRUZ: With everything they say about us. That's all there is.

CASTRO: But what type of expressions do they use? Why do they label you on the basis of color?

CRUZ: Well, I don't know why they label us on the basis of color. To me, we're all the same. We are all God's children. But because we are dark-skinned, they're bothered. Wouldn't you be bothered if you were in the same situation? Some of them call my children "jarochos" and who knows what else. They discriminate a lot because of color.

JONES: Do they talk badly about you to your face?

CRUZ: No, but people hear rumors.

JONES: What words do whites use? [End Page 33]

CRUZ: "Blacks this" and "blacks that"; "large-mouthed blacks" and who knows what else. One gets offended, because I do not consider myself ugly and black. Those things make me really angry.

JONES: May I ask you how old you are?

CRUZ: On Monday, I will be sixty-three years old. Look what state I'm in. I have no strength. I have high blood-sugar. My blood pressure went up. I have no strength in my hand. The doctor says my recovery is going to be slow. Slow and costly.

JONES: Are there many people here with blood-sugar problems?

CRUZ: Yes.

JONES: Why is that?

CRUZ: So many have died. We don't know why. Some say it's because of the pesticides they use in the fields. A lot of things are used in the fields. My husband had the same thing happen to him. He died when he was younger, when he was fifty-nine years old.

JONES: Your son is a folk healer, correct?

CRUZ: Yes.

JONES: How did your son learn to be a folk healer?

CRUZ: Every year, on the first or second day of December, in preparation for December twelfth, my son takes part in a walking pilgrimage with the Virgin of Guadalupe. He was going along with his fellow pilgrims and that's where he learned. For instance, if you, Flor, or whoever comes and asks my son, "How much is it?" He says, "Whatever you like." If people have money, it's fine. If they don't, it's fine, too. He doesn't charge. He helps a lot of people. I am a believer. I trust in the Virgin of Guadalupe, that she'll help him when he does the massages.

JONES: Are there other people in your family who are also folk healers?

CRUZ: No, just him.

JONES: How many children do you have?

CRUZ: I have four sons and a daughter. That was all I had. One of them is a mixing-truck driver. The oldest one is an 18-wheeler driver. [End Page 34]

ROWELL: How long have you lived in this community?

CRUZ: I have lived here for forty-eight years.

ROWELL: How many words do you have to describe whites?

CRUZ: "Charros" and "gueros."

JONES: Do you use the word "blanco"? For instance, if a white person uses the word "negro," what does the black person say?

CRUZ: He doesn't say anything.

JONES: How have you changed in the forty-eight years that you've lived here?

CRUZ: I feel like I'm more going than coming...


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