|Maria de Jesus "Marichuy" Patricio Martinez (EZLN Radio)|
Indigenous Woman Healer Makes a Run for the Mexican Presidency
An indigenous woman has emerged as a contender for the Mexican presidency in 2018.
Representing scores of indigenous groups from across Mexico which were convened by a rejuvenated National Indigenous Congress and the Zapatista National Liberation Army, the CIG was established at a meeting this past weekend attended by about 1,500 people in the southern state of Chiapas, according to Proceso magazine and other Mexican media outlets.
The ethnic groups represented in the 71-member CIG include Mayas, Yaquis, Zoques and many others.
Popularly known as "Marichuy," Patricio Martinez is a longtime traditional healer who directs La Casa de Salud Calli Tecolhuacateca Tochan, a community health center in Tuxpan, Jalisco.
Quoted in the Mexican alternative news digital publication Desinformemonos.org, Patricio Martinez spoke about the intersection between traditional medicine and the broader indigenous struggle.
"The House of Health has brought us the defense of traditional medicine, indigenous territories and Mother Earth from an anti-capitalist perspective, of the freedom struggle of the indigenous peoples," she said.
In Jalisco and neighboring Nayarit, violence and repression directed against indigenous Nahua, Wixaritari (Huichol) and Coca peoples by government officials, private business interests and organized crime groups has been on the rise since 2012.
If "Marichuy" makes it on the ballot for the July 2018 presidential election, she will face an array of candidates from established political parties with financial resources.
While Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is spearheading a pre-campaign for a third presidential bid supported by his Morena political party and allies from other left-of-center parties, clear front-runners from other political forces, including independents, have yet to emerge.
Sapped by numerous scandals and unpopular policies like last January's 20 percent gasoline price hike, or gasolinazo, President Peña Nieto's ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) will be hard pressed to postulate a credible, would-be replacement for the president, though Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong is one name that keeps popping up in the press.
Significantly greater numbers of women have entered Mexican politics in recent decades, with female presidential candidates increasingly testing the waters in a field long considered a man's game.
In 2017, Vazquez Mota is the PAN's gubernatorial candidate in the important June 4 election in the State of Mexico that pits her against another woman, Morena's Delfina Gomez, and Alfredo del Mazo of the PRI, who is Peña Nieto’s cousin and a former director of the national development bank Banobras.
Maria de Jesus Patricio Martinez, however, would be the first indigenous woman to make the presidential ballot. And if anything, her candidacy will be a decidedly non-traditional one in many respects.
“There is great disillusionment with the political parties and it’s important that it is the CIG which heads this campaign,” said Yaqui leader Mario Luna.
Added Zoque Fortino Dominguez, “Political parties have an individualistic conception of the world. Our peoples think collectively.”