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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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Colonias: Issues In The Rio Grande Valley
Program #

Social Issues
Linda Fregoso
Antonio Elizondo, Efraín Bernal, Isaias Aguayo, Lazaro Olivares, Ricardo Cantu, Samuel Sanchez
Dec 18, 1980

Colonias: Issues in the Rio Grande Valley

Linda Fregoso examines the development of colonias, or unincorporated subdivisions, of South Texas and the problems that plague residents. Fregoso first discusses the history of colonias and their prevalence along the border. She explains that colonias often lack basic utilities and many residents live in substandard housing. As Efrain Bernal from the advocacy group Colonias del Valle, observes, many people are drawn to colonias because the land is cheap and exempt from city ordinances. One resident explains that colonias offer people the chance to get started owning their own land and eventually save up for better housing in the city.

Fregoso then discusses the living conditions within colonias. She explains that independent groups have installed alternative energy systems in several homes, and she speaks with a woman who uses a solar water heater. Fregoso then interviews residents of the Colonia Tierra Prieta, one of the poorest colonias. Because of the lack of heating, insulation, clean water and other necessities, residents are vulnerable to several health ailments, and Fregoso speaks with one woman about the difficulty of obtaining health care for her family. Local doctors who work with the migrant community then discuss some of the diseases affecting colonia residents.

Several of the guests talk about how developers, the county and other entities profit from the presence of colonias. Consequently, it is hard to blame any one institution for the dire problems affecting colonia residents.


Center for Mexican American Studies | Department of History | The Benson Latin American Collection

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