The word of Marichuy

Marichuy touring the Lacandón Jungle with Zapatista women.

By: Luis Hernández Navarro

We didn’t bring you caps, T-shirts, umbrellas, sandwiches or food supplies, María de Jesús Patricio says in some of the meetings on the tour she leads. What we bring is the word that they sent us to say.

María de Jesús Patricio –her family calls her Marichuy– is the traditional Nahuatl doctor that serves as a spokesperson and candidate to the Presidency for the Indigenous Government Council (CIG, its initials in Spanish). The word that she takes to the communities is what the original peoples that make up the council send her to say.

Since last October 14, Marichuy has toured a large part of the country. She doesn’t stop. As of now she has traveled to Chiapas, Campeche, Yucatán, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Veracruz, Puebla, the state of Mexico, Morelos, Hidalgo, Colima, Jalisco, Aguascalientes, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosí, Querétaro and Ciudad de México. In the majority of those states she has not held meetings in the big cities, but rather in remote communities (many with difficult access) where the indigenous peoples live and struggle.

In those meetings, María de Jesús has talked, but also listened. Last January 9, in Desemboque, Pitiquito, Sonora, she summed up what those other voices have told her: “We have heard the different pains that these communities are experiencing, above all those of southern Mexico.”

The large number of women that participate, organize, lead and take the word in these events surprises her. Half of the sky, usually invisible in political campaigns of the institutional parties, occupies an immense space in the tour of the CIG’s spokesperson. It’s as if the walk of Marichuy had opened an enormous bouquet in the traditional ways of doing politics, through which the organized women of the Mexico of below have become involved to take control of their own destiny.

María de Jesús never speaks in her own name, but rather of the peoples that elected her as their spokesperson. She doesn’t use the word I, but rather we. In the meetings she doesn’t ask people to vote for her, she calls to organize. She doesn’t say you struggle, but rather let’s struggle together. She doesn’t ask that they support, help her or follow her: she invites us to think together in the Mexico that we want, to begin to walk together and not stop, to organize and struggle in common.

Why do María de Jesús Patricio and the CIG participate in the electoral conjuncture if they are not in agreement with political parties? Why do it if they consider that those parties have divided and confronted the communities? She has explained it time and again.

They participate in the electoral contest no to arrive in power or to be like those above, but rather because they want: “that they turn around to look at our indigenous peoples and listen to the problems that they have.” It’s because they seek to make clear “that the peoples are not in agreement with the way in which those who have power and those who have money are agreeing there above.” It’s because they need to denounce the imposition on the peoples of mega-projects that have brought destruction and death, contamination and deforestation. It’s because they must prepare to confront the war that’s coming from the corporations, the governments and the drug trafficker, together with the violence that always accompanies them, be it from their groups of police, soldiers or criminals. It’s because she urges them to stop the murders, the disappearances and the incarcerations that they suffer in order to defend their lands, territories and natural resources. It’s because they no longer want to be ignored, abandoned and humiliated. It’s because there are communities that are at the point of disappearing. It’s because it depends on them “that there is still life for those who come back.”

“We are going to participate in this process –the CIG’s spokesperson said last January 12 in Mesa Colorada, Guarijio territory– so that the media will turn around to look and they will see that our peoples are suffering, that they have land problems, that they have problems with contaminated waters, that they have problems with mines that come and contaminate with open sky (mining), that there are hydroelectric dams, that there are gas pipelines, that there are wind farms that contaminate the land, that there are GMOs that are contaminating our crops, our corm, our beans.”

Marichuy’s word is not directed only at the indigenous peoples, but also at workers of the countryside and the city, women, youth, students, workers, teachers, because –she explains– “this capitalist system is not only in our peoples, it’s everywhere, it’s all over the world.” In this struggle, which is a proposal from the peoples –dice– “all those fit that feel that this Mexico is ours, and that a few are appropriating it, the few that have the power and that have the money, and that we aren’t useful to then, we upset them.”

In few countries in Latin America are there as many resistance struggles as in Mexico. Nevertheless, they are mostly scattered and isolated, like beads of a necklace on which the thread that binds them has broken. On her path through the towns and communities in resistance, Marichuy and the CIG seek to re-string those beads so that they form a necklace capable of changing the direction of history.

The horizon of their proposal –Marichuy has insisted– doesn’t stop in 2018, but much beyond that. In the manner of the indigenous peoples that are accustomed to dreaming another way, they vindicate a power that must be below, capable of saying how the rulers should be; a power that tells the government what it must do and not the other way around.

At a time in which the group of parties with registry has run to the right, the CIG and its spokesperson are making a campaign below and to the left. While the majority of the candidates talk about inequality, corruption or insecurity, Marichuy names with all their letters what the others keep quiet: the dispossession, exploitation, racism and oppression provoked by capitalism, and the need to organize and struggle against them. That’s the reason she doesn’t bring caps, T-shirts, umbrellas, sandwiches or food supplies, but rather the word of the peoples, Marichuy must appear on the electoral ballot for electing the President of the Republic.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee


One Comment on “The word of Marichuy

  1. Pingback: Zapatista News & Analysis from Chiapas Support Committee/ | Blog of Zapatista Support Group Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand

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