The Zapatistas and National Indigenous Congress (CNI) held an assembly in May in which they chose María de Jesús Patricio Martínez, a Nahua indigenous healer, as their spokesperson and presidential candidate for the 2018 elections in Mexico.
Patricio’s candidacy and radical vision for Mexico challenges conventional politics and marks a new phase for the Zapatista and indigenous struggle in the country. The 57-year-old traditional Nahua doctor and mother of three from western Mexico is the first indigenous woman to run for the presidency in Mexico.
Patricio joined the struggles related to the Zapatista Army of National Liberation in 1996, when she was involved in the formation of the CNI, a network of indigenous communities in the country. She began helping out sick members of her community with herbal remedies when she was 20-years-old. Her skills as a healer were passed down to her from elders in the community, and are based on a close relationship with the local ecosystem.