An Indigenous Woman is Running for President of Mexico

As 2017 unfolds, different candidates have emerged for the big run for Mexico’s presidency in 2018. Among them is María de Jesús Patricio Martínez, a Nahua woman from Jalisco.

Mexican politics have always been a controversial topic. After 70 years of rule by the same party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional, PRI), Vicente Fox landed the presidency in 2000 – opening the door to the opposition party (Partido Acción Nacional, PAN). In 2006, Felipe Calderón (PAN) ran the country for 6 years and implemented one of the least popular plans in the history of Mexico, which ended the life of thousands of Mexicans. The war against drugs faced a severe backlash and people wanted to get things back to “normal”, even if that meant electing a corrupt, inexperienced, privileged young candidate from PRI. People just didn’t want more encounters between the warlords and the military in our streets, where our children played, where we had our businesses. People didn’t want to end up dead on the street.

Mexico has a system within which a President rules for 6 years with no opportunity for re-election, and I swear this past 6 years have been the longest of our lives. President Enrique Peña Nieto has smeared our dignity to the ground, but since this article is not about him, you can read information here on why we want him out. If anything good has come out of his presidency, it is that we want to take control of our country again. We have a lot of options for 2018, many very bad, but some that could create a change.

Among the people who are angered and want to lead the country are the National Indigenous Council. They, supported by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, are endorsing María de Jesús Patricio Martínez, a traditional doctor and member of the Nahua People. She is the first indigenous women candidate for Mexico’s presidency, and her decision to run has been sparked by numerous human rights violations in Mexico and Guatemala, as well as the migration crisis that has affected several countries in the world.

Although they have rejected a political classification, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation is a horizontal, autonomous, anti-neoliberal social movement, with an Indigenous Council which protects the rights of 58 indigenous peoples, as well as the Women’s Revolutionary Law, the environment and communities.

In October of 2016 the Council said that the candidate would be ruled by seven principles:

To serve and not to serve, to build and not to destroy, to obey and not to command, to propose and not to impose, to convince and not to overcome, to descend and not to rise, to represent and not to supplant”.

Even if many believe Maria de Jesús doesn’t stand a chance, even if the mainstream media won’t report on her candidacy, here is why I am writing this blog about her: Maria de Jesús will be the voice of minorities. She will represent the indigenous people who, after colonization, have been exploited, violated, murdered, and segregated below poverty lines. She will be the voice of women in a country where violence against women and girls remains endemic. She will be the voice of the powerless, and for that she needs to be heard. She needs to be recognized in Mexico and in the international arena.

Please share this news. Let the world know that an indigenous woman and the indigenous people in Mexico are raising their voices, and that we need to support them.