This song was written in the nineteen thirties when the Great Depression was at its peak and money was scarce every where. The common laborer was a rural "jibaro" or criollo who worked his fields and probably someone else's. Once in a while he had a small harvest that he would take to town to sell. This song tells of his thoughts and dreams full of happiness and of selling his wares and hoping to buy his wife a gift. The jibaro's joy turns to sadness when no one wants to buy his goods and he returns home without any money to help his family.
That is why it is called El Lamento Borincano.