Marichuy, indigenous candidate for president. Marichuy, indigenous candidate for president.

Indigenous healer is running for president

She doesn't expect to win but hopes to organize Mexico's 25.6mn indigenous

For the first time in history an indigenous woman is going to run for president of Mexico.


María de Jesús Patricio Martínez —a Nahua woman affectionately known as Marichuy — will officially contest the ballot next year as an independent candidate although she has the backing of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN).

The two groups announced they would nominate a female indigenous candidate last year although the EZLN later denied they had any intention of participating in the national poll.

Almost 1,500 delegates at a conference in Chiapas on May 28 elected the Nahua healer and herbalist as the spokesperson for the Indigenous Government Council (CIG) — a joint initiative of the two organizations. The appointment effectively means she was endorsed to run as their presidential candidate.

Patricio sees the role as central to the indigenous rights movement.

“When the representatives of the original groups asked if I wanted to be the spokesperson of the CIG, I thought about how much the country’s indigenous peoples have suffered, the dispossession, the repression. That drove me to take this decision to accompany [the people] and take on this very important position.”

Patricio says her work in that role as well as a presidential candidate will be to seek to “make the pain of the indigenous peoples visible so that voices that seem to be hidden in the mountains and the jungle don’t continue to be ignored.”


She will also advocate for a leftist agenda. The newspaper El Universal reported that Marichuy sees capitalism as a virus that is exterminating all life on the planet.

Next year’s presidential election will be the first to allow independent candidates to run although they must collect the signatures of at least 1% of eligible voters in 17 of Mexico’s 32 states.

That means that Patricio needs to collect signatures from about 850,000 people in order for her candidacy to be ratified, but with the support of the CNI and EZLN that hurdle is likely to be overcome.

Running against candidates from long-established, well-funded parties makes chances of her being a genuine contender negligible but Patricio says victory is not the objective.

“In the end we’re not going to win and that’s not the aim but we do [want to] achieve the organization of the [indigenous] peoples for themselves, so that they speak for themselves, so they don’t have to be asking for somebody else to speak for them, like those in government who impose on and speak in the name of the people without consulting them.”

Instead, she sees bringing diverse groups together and giving them a voice as a priority of her candidacy.

“What we propose is organization. Arriving and sitting in the presidential chair doesn’t concern us very much but rather [we want] to open a space to organize both indigenous peoples and other sectors of civil society who consider it important to find another way of organizing.”

Born in Tuxpan, Jalisco, in 1963, the mother of three has carried on a family tradition by working for much of her life as a herbalist and set up a health center in the city 22 years ago.

In times past her grandmother and aunts are said to have cured children of ailments such as mal de ojo or evil eye, indigestion, diarrhea, frights and fevers using natural remedies.

They passed on their knowledge to Patricio, who preserves and integrates ancient indigenous medical practices in her work today.

The Calli Tecolhuacateca Tochan health center also trains health workers from indigenous communities in the region.

Patricio has a long history of fighting for indigenous rights in the country and has been particularly active on issues related to women and indigenous autonomy. She has been an influential member of the Central Pacific region of the CNI and a close observer of indigenous movements.

She clearly remembers the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas in 1994 as being a pivotal moment.

“The people weren’t visible, we ourselves didn’t know about the others. I believe that the uprising helped a lot of people, it made the indigenous peoples of Mexico visible.”

As a presidential candidate, Patricio will be looking to differentiate herself from other candidates by fulfilling the seven principles of the CNI: to serve and not serve oneself; to build and not destroy; to obey and not order; to propose and not impose; to convince and not defeat; to rise and not to fall; to connect and not isolate.

As she begins a tour around the country to build support, many people think her campaign and the associated movement could be the beginning of the biggest non-violent indigenous uprising in Mexico’s history.

With 21.5% or 25.6 million Mexicans identifying as indigenous, it certainly has the potential to become a powerful force in Mexican politics.

Patricio is certain that in order for Mexico to rebuild, indigenous voices will be indispensable and she is intent on ensuring that they have greater resonance in the political landscape.

While it remains to be seen just how influential the healer’s ideas and political remedies will be, how much support she will attract in the long campaign towards the July 2018 election and how much she can shake up the status quo in Mexican politics, of one thing there is no doubt: she has determination, desire and drive.

“We have no other option but to confront this system that is destroying us, not just our communities, but everyone.”

Source: El Universal (sp)

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  • JayJohnson

    A laying of hands healer today. A lay her hands on your wealth self healer tomorrow.

  • WestCoastHwy

    just a piece of advice: casinos!

  • From South of the Border

    Everybody deserves to be heard, but calling Capitalism a disease or a virus destroying things tells you that she is ill informed and so far out in left field her solutions would send Mexico back to the dark days of human sacrifice and the uneducated running things they have no idea about how to do things in the modern world. Whether she likes it or not she is living in 2017 not 1491 one year, before Columbus came to the Americas. In order for Mexico to grow and prosper people like this indigenous healer should be listened to then real decisions must be made practical not pie in the sky left wing ignorance of how the real world works. Whether this women likes it or not Capitalism is how this world works and she and her followers have no chance of changing that. One good thing is her presence on the ballot will dilute left wing voting strength taking away votes from the likes of Lopez Obrador the Maduro and Chavez of Mexico. Anything or one who helps to keep Obrador out of Los Pinos is welcomed. Whether she and her followers know a vote for her is a vote that keeps Obrador out of Los Pinos she is doing great work for Capitalism and the prosperity of Mexico. Continue your campaign it just helps us Capitalists to win and keep left wing nut jobs out of Los Pinos thanks very much keep up the good work!!

    • rainycoastguy

      Sure, capitalism works so well. Just look at the USA for an example. Millions without adequate health care, a drug problem that is the poor person’s escapism, blinkers on the global climate crisis, educational ignorance … I could go on but what’s the point. Those that know this, do, and the rest can’t figure it out.

      • From South of the Border

        You mean people like you can figure this out, but the rest of us who disagree with you are just ignorant..Well, Maybe the select left wing ideologues who have fallen for the first it was global cooling in the late 1970’s then in the middle 80’s when the climate information didn’t indicate cooling they switched to Global Warming and then last, but not least it is now climate change. How many more changes in your slogan are you going to go through, before you realize your WRONG on this issue and that the majority of the people at least in the U.S. are onto your left wing none sense. In 1998 Vice President Gore made a speech saying that by the year 2020 Florida would be under water, because of the melting polar ice caps well I was in South beach last month Miami and Miami Beach are still there just as they were in the 1960’s when my family and I would come down every Christmas so is Florida going to disappear in less than 4 years I doubt it!! Drugs are like alcohol you make it illegal it will increase its usage prohibition didn’t work neither do the drug laws. As far as health care goes you left wingers did such a great job with Obamacare so don’t blame the right for that one. You see the left is about emotion and scientific and other ideological ignorance not real science which, if you talk to geologists and archeologists these scientists say that the earth is just going through one of its natural climate cycles, but that won’t allow left wingers try to bring socialist solutions for so called climate change. It is such a great breath of fresh air to see a national leader tell the left wingers who want the Paris accords. That I was elected to represent Pittsburgh not Paris. Trump was right then and let this indigenous lady run she isn’t qualified to be president of Mexico, but she will divert votes away from Lopez Obrador otherwise known as the Chavez and Maduro of Mexico. If you love socialism so much go and enjoy the paridise of Venezuela a god example of what would happen to Mexico, if this indigenous person or Amlo were elected here in Mexico. You see rainycoastguy, I have debated overly emotional left wingers for years and they always fall back on that they are smarter than everyone else well you just said the same thing how predictable you are!! Good luck NOT!!!

        • rainycoastguy

          Educational ignorance…

        • BETOXELA2015

          Well said, but I think you lost raincoastguy with your clear upright response. It is quite clear this tonto is a product of the leftist public school system.

          • From South of the Border

            Hi Betoxela2015, Nice to hear from a person who uses their common sense and not their emotions. Left wingers are always saying that they are smarter than everyone else and that only scientists that agree with them should be listened to well. I’m sorry, but I listen to all sides then I make up my own mind based on the facts and common sense not left wing ideology which is always driven by emotion such as words like”fairness” what is fair to one person is unfair to someone else, but the left runs on emotion not on practicality and common sense. That is why when Trump said I represent Pittsburgh not Paris I clapped hard and long. Whether we are talking about climate, schools or healthcare the lefts solution is always more government not private solutions. Look at France the top tax rate is 78%. I’m sorry I don’t care, if someone makes 10 million a year you don’t have the right to steal 7.8 million out 10 million dollars from someone. I think objectively 25% is about the extent any country should tax people’s earnings. If it were me my top tax rate would be 20%. Taxation is legalized theft so it should be kept to a minimum not a maximum level. Rainycoastguy is a typical left winger of course I lost him he couldn’t counter my argument so he gave up. Left wingers will never answer your facts, because they can’t emotion is no way to try and win an argument logic and facts is the way to go. In other parts of the world people pay large taxes for so called FREE STUFF in Europe unemployment is high, because of over spending by European governments just see the 78% top tax rate in France over 12% unemployment in France. In the UK people die waiting to see specialists such as oncologists for cancer diagnosis where it takes as long as a year to see a specialist in the U.S. less than a month. Left wingers will never give up their pie in the sky dreams even, if you objectively prove they don’t work. As my late father used to say ” nothing is for free except the air you breathe. THAT IS ALL FOR NOW..

          • BETOXELA2015

            Thanks again for your clear and concise statements. The thing to always remember is that we are dealing with Communist revolutionary types throughout the world and especially in the last 80 years here in the United States. They have infiltrated every part of our society and have targeted especially our public school system were our young have been taught their radical revolutionary thoughts and goals and are instructed never to give up these thoughts and goals. It is for this reason, the loss of their idealized communist state here in America , that has them in a complete state of panic, hate, denial and disorder with the great fear of the loss of the Communist state that Obama almost achieved here in America. The Communists will not go down easy, and we will need to fight them daily by exposing them in our society to defeat them. God Bless America and God Bless President Trump.

  • mikegre

    I think her pushing for the return of human sacrifice is a very good thing.