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‘Mexico needs healing’: the first indigenous woman to run for president

June 12, 2017

María de Jesús Patricio Martínez will represent the Zapatista movement and Mexico’s National Indigenous Congress.

María de Jesús Patricio Martínez has always had a gift for curing people’s ailments, an ability she attributes to her close connection with the earth.

Born and raised in Tuxpan, a slow-paced town in western Mexico surrounded by scrubby hills and fields of sugarcane and maize, she began offering herbal remedies to sick neighbours at the age of 20 after noticing the government’s indifference to local health problems.

“Back then, there was a shortage of doctors and medicine and the health department had no answers,” said Patricio, an indigenous Nahua. “But we have so many plants and so much knowledge from our elders. My grandmother would give us special teas to cure stress, coughs or diarrhea, and they worked. So I thought: why not give herbal remedies to those who can’t afford medicine?”

Now a 53-year-old mother of three, Patricio is renowned for preserving traditional indigenous medicine. But she is about to embark upon a much more ambitious mission: healing a country that has been torn apart by rampant violence, political corruption and economic inequality.

Mexico’s National Indigenous Congress – a broad coalition of native ethnic groups – and the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) have nominated Patricio to represent them in next year’s presidential election.

If they gather enough signatures to ratify her nomination, she will become the first indigenous woman ever to run for president in Mexico…

Click here to read this article in full at The Guardian

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