This interview was conducted by Gerardo Lopez Villalpando in March 2015 in San Antonio, TX. as part of Palo Alto College’s History 1302 – Spring 2015 class.
Ana Gloria Huezo (nee Monterrosa) was born on December 30, 1948 in San Salvador, El Salvador to Alberto Brisuela Regalado and Melida Huezo Cartagena. Ana Monterrosa is the youngest in the family she has a sister Josefita and a brother Francisco. She attended two schools Pilar Velazquez and Dolores viuda de Brito during her five years of education. As a young woman worked very hard selling food on town fairs from the age of 12 until the age of 18. At age 18 she got married to Jorge Antonio Monterrosa. She has seven children Maria Elena born 1967, Susana Aime, born 1971, Jorge Ernesto born 1973, Angela de Jesus born 1974, Gloria Del Carmen born 1976, Fatima Veronica born 1979 and David Antonio 1986. Ana owned a convenience store and a food stand while living in Ciudad Delgado, El Salvador. When Ana turned 39 she migrated to the United States, It was a long and difficult journey that took Ana 4 months, arriving in Brownsville on 1989, moved to Kentucky for 7 months. On 1990 she came to San Antonio, where she has lived since then. Ana has been married for 45 years, they have 8 grandchildren.
What are your earliest childhood memories?
What I remember is that I was very happy, my parents were very poor, but they gave us love, I was free. I used go to the sea by myself, and climbing the trees, I had no limits, and I was a warrior.
Did you have any kind of duties as a child?
None, just play with my parents, I used to play cards with my dad.
When young, what did you do for fun?
I never liked to go dancing, at younger age I had my daughter, she was my fun; before I had her, I would go out with my friends, but our fun was to go to the sea, sometimes birthdays, or weddings. I was never a party girl I was brought up by my great parents, and then I had my daughter, since then I had to feed her, so I had to work.
How did you meet you husband?
I already had two kids. When I met him, just one day I got into a bus, and there he was, I liked his smile, but I pretended that I did not care, I did not pay much attention. He started asking about me, looking for me, he bother me for 6 months, but I was so scared with the previous relationships that I did not want anything with anybody. My mother liked him, she told me: “this man is good for you”
How long have you been married?
Forty three years
Why did you immigrate to the United States?
Because of the civil war in my country El Salvador, it was very dangerous for my family, I couldn’t make it, there was no money, life was very difficult, I was a business woman, but we couldn’t get any business. I could not cover my expenses, my daughters had grown they were attending school, and it was very expensive, in first place I just wanted to take my kids out of there. I left El Salvador spending six months on my way here, four of those months working in Mexico to save money for the travel tickets, thank God after that I enter the United States. However after only been here for two months I went back to bring my daughter which was 16 years old and my son who was only two.
You have a firsthand experience when the war in El Salvador started, will you like to share it?
Oh yes (big exclamation). What happened to me is that we lived in a small town, my husband was a bus driver, the buses belong to my mother in law; my in-laws were entrepreneurs, they send my husband to a little town like half hour from Cojutepeque where we lived. I used to go a clinic for my appointments, regularly I had my kids in a big town Cojutepeque, but when I had my daughter the one the passed away, the doctor put me in a room with 5 people that were sick with Typhoid fever and I was very upset, because my daughter was a newborn, so when I was pregnant again I told my husband: “look Jorge, I am not giving birth of my child in (El seguro) government hospital, I don’t want to go thru the same” and he asked me: “what are you going to do?”. I’m going to go to San Salvador. By then my husband got a Job in San Salvador with the water company ANDA (Administracion Nacional de Acueductos) my sister gave us the house it was june 26 when we went over there, I had the appointment and I told him: “I can’t hold this belly anymore” so I left and took with me Susy and Carmencita when we arrived the rumors of war were starting, the buses were in conflict with pickups because they put pickups to move people, I got into a pickup with my daughters and when we arrived to the bus stop, when I was getting out of the pickup a bus driver was so upset that he started driving the bus toward us the man in the pickup did a sudden stop. I felt from the pickup with my big belly, but I was able to hold a little so I did not fell on my face, and my little girls fell inside the pickup, from there we went to the house, but with the panic that I went thru, I vomited all night, I couldn’t eat anything, the next day I went to the hospital around 10:00 in the morning to see what they say, because I did not had my pregnancy control there, they did not want to see me. Finally the evening shift was able to attend me, it was June 28. When I was examined, the nurse told me: “no mam you are ready, you are like 8 centimeters dilated”, my daughter was born at 8:00 pm. Thank God it was a wonderful labor, but they did not feed me, (she laughs) the hunger was killing me, they took me to my room and the lady told me: “for being so courageous I’m going to give you two pieces of bread” but I was still very hungry, and I could not sleep for being so hungry, it was almost two days by now without eating. The next day at 7:00 in the morning I was asleep and gave me beans, I told her: “I do not eat beans when I give birth” and she reply: “hey eat because it might not be anything available latter” so glad I did because like around 10:00 in the morning I woke up again, and I started to look that the nurses they were walking hunched, and I wondered “what’s happening?” I got up and looked thru the window, and what I could see that it was reporter with his hands up and there was police trucks, soldiers, and National Guard, a lot of them, they took way his camera, with his hands up they shot him from his back. I got scared to see all that, they yielded at me: get on the floor!!!, and I was standing looking all that, I went to my bed I grabbed my daughter wrapped in the hospital’s bed sheet, and I excited the hospital thru the back door, I ran to take the bus to tell my husband, what was happening but my husband already had left from work, so I came back to take another bus, I asked people for money because I did not have anything, I decided to go back and when I looked he was in the bus stop across the street ready to take the bus to the hospital. He was wearing the same color of uniform as the union workers that were protesting, they would kill him, if he would arrived there. I screamed and he listened. He did not take the bus. The war in the country was tremendous.
How did you enter the U.S.?
Without documents (she laughs) thru the river.
You said that you were here only for two months and then you had to go back to get your kids. How was the second time coming to U.S.?
When we left El Salvador on November 2, the day of the dead. I had my son and my daughter with me, we stayed at Cristian churches we did not have money for hotels, we did not have money for anything, but God had giving me a prophecy that I was going to bring my kids here, my brothers and sisters from the church did not wanted us to leave, we made it thank God. The day that we cross the border the water on the river was really high, to the top, we passed on pneumatics I had my son on my lap and my daughter on other pneumatic, we made across arriving on the city of Mission. After that my daughter and my son stayed in Harlingen with a family, they needed someone to take care of the kids, my daughter was 16, so I left her there, they took a really good care of her, and they loved her. I found a job in Kentucky I worked there for seven months, I came back to San Antonio and started working for Mrs. Palma a millionaire; she knew my son and my daughter were on a border town. I left them because the lady that I went to work for in Kentucky did not wanted me to take them with me, because the husband was in the military. From the church they went to get my son. Mrs. Palma told me to bring my kids because my son was lonely, and told her how Mrs. Amalia? She gave money and but the tickets, so I left in again to El Salvador, we came in December 1989 we lasted two moths traveling, I brought Maria Elena, Carmencita and Veronica, still remained in El Salvador, Angelita and Coque, after arriving I took the airplane in Harlingen to fly to San Antonio, the immigration officials were stopping people, it was really sad, but we got into the airplane with out problems.
There is an article on The San Antonio Express News,why?
I apply for political asylum, I got information that they were granting political asylum, then Mrs Gonzalez from Catholic Charities filled up all the documents, and make an appointment, but the day that I went they told me everything has been canceled. Then Mrs. Gonzalez told me: “this is really bad, let see what we can do” I went to church and asked the Lord and the Lord gave his word that he will help me. There was a reported that was interested in our case and why they had denied the political asylum, Mrs. Gonzalez told me that she wanted to do interviews to two families, she chose us and a Russian family. The article was published on a fourth of July. After that they came up with TPS, Mrs. Gonzalez did the paper work, catholic charities gave me a check for $520.00 to pay, we got permission to stay in the U.S. from 1989 to 1998 until I was able to get my permanent residence.
What do you considered to be your American dream?
Is to work to give my sons and daughters a better life, to free them from the war.
What did you know about the United States before moving here?
That is a free country where people have peace, especially for us coming from countries where we are oppressed, this is a country free to work.
How do you feel when going back to your country?
I feel happy, free….I feel grateful with God. My son is there I still have to go to El Salvador, my daughter died there, I have to go for my son, and I feel happy to be able to help people that needs it there a lot of people in need and I feel happy because god has blessed me.
Have you ever consider going back to live there?
I was thinking that when I retired, but sadly now there’s not war, but the gangs, is tremendous, you can’t go out at night, it is very dangerous, and there is no freedom. Especially if they know you are a US citizen, and they know you get a check, sometimes that bank will tell the thieves that you got a check, that’s what I am afraid of, before I did think about it, but now no. I want to go to live to Costa Rica or Panama.
Where have you travel?
I asked God to allow me to see the tulip fields in the Netherlands, and God granted my wish. I have been in France, Germany, Italy, Idaho, Chicago and Colorado.
Where do you work now?
I work In the University of The Incarnate Word, I’m in love with the University incarnate word means Jesus is the word, I took care of this place, I know the Lord put me here, I had worked here since 1990; it will be 15 years in April.
Is there anything else you would like to add to this interview?
The government is not the one that give the documents, is God. If you grab into God’s hands, you depend totally on him, and he is capable of doing new laws to give to you, I think that all immigrant people all the people that comes to the U.S. should grab God’s hands. So God to can take control of their lives, because in reality God did not build frontiers, we did them ourselves, in reality if it was about frontiers we are as Americans as the ones here, we are Americans a hundred per cent and also we have European blood, because we are mix(mestizos) from the Spanish that are from Europe, therefore we have Spanish blood as American blood, this is our American continent. The first thing is to grab God’s hands and he will open the frontiers for us always. That’s why I’m very grateful with God, because until now God has helped me. Everything I have, everything I am, God has gave it to me.
It is fascinating to hear about a person’s history of life. by doing this project I discovered that a reporter does not have an easy job, when transcribing the interview I wanted to be objective on the topic, trying to separate my own experience of immigration from Ana’s; but I could not help feel identified with her specially regarding the separation of the family. After this interview, my respect for reporters has grown, for they are the first link on the chain of those who write history, the job as a reporter is gigantic, that means that they have to be focus on the situation, and be as accurate to the facts as possible. What they witness and what they write my change the real perception of the event.
I feel very pleased to share this experience with Ana, this is a part of that history that somehow has made her in the person that she is now, a strong, courageous, and very religious woman. When talking to Ana during the interview, she was describing her experiences with a sense of great satisfaction, Ana is not ashamed to tell why she came to the U.S. and how she did it, for her everything is a blessing, even the bad moments, and her positivism is admirable. By searching in the web I was able to confirm about what Ana has mentioned in the interview, the Company where her husband used to work still exist. The TPS was a U.S. program launched by the government to give temporary legal status to Salvadorians and Hondurans during difficult times in their countries, I also learned about the civil war in El Salvador. Learning thru oral history is that not always things are said in the way they really happened, which means that by repeating from one person to another it might be possible that every person will give their personal interpretation of the event, the result could be a total different story of the one from the beginning. Even the same person might not be telling the story the same every time, meaning that the person could forget things especially if the event happened a long time ago. However the oral history is better that no history at all, we have learned about the history of the beginning of world mostly by oral stories passed from generation to generation. The oral history project has been an amazing experience, now days we are accustom to get every bit of information thru more graphing means of communication whenever we want by simply turning the TV, the computer or reading the newspapers. By doing this project I learned how each person can tell history thru their own lives. While living we are part of the history of world.
- Born on December 30, 1948
- Brother Francisco (she does not remember his birthdate)
- Sister Josefita 1944
- She attendended school from 1956 to 1962
- Worked really hard with her mother selling food on town fairs until she got married in 1966
- Daughter Maria born in 1967
- She moves to Soyapango, El Salvador on 1970
- Daughter Susana Aime born 1971
- She moves to Cojutepeque, el Salvador 1972
- Jorge Ernesto born 1973
- Angela de Jesus born 1974
- Gloria del Carmen born 1976
- Fatima Veronica born 1979
- David Antonio born 1986
- Leaves her Country El Salvador in 1988 with only two of her children
- She goes back in 1989 to bring three more of her children.
- Arrives to San Antonio 1990
- Works as a housekeeper with Hope Andrade 1991
- Works as a housekeeper with Allan Muns on 1991
- Her daughter Angela dies on 1999
- She resigned her job with Allan Muns on 2000
- Has worked at The University of The Incarnate Word since 2000 up to date.
- El Salvador Testimonios De Guerra
by Ariel Romero, he took his recorder, pencil and paper, put them in his backpack, he walked to volcan de San Salvador and to cerro de Guazapa en 1990, to meet with “los guerrilleros del Frente Farabundo Marti para la Liberacion Nacional”.