A native Nahua healer, long-time supporter of Zapatista rebellion, and a renowned spokesperson for Mexican indigenous rights, Maria del Jesus Patricio Martinez is the country’s first-ever indigenous female presidential candidate.
“We have seen that the problems faced by the indigenous and the impoverished across Mexico are the same. But the political system seeks to divide us,” the candidate better known as ‘Marichuy’ said. “Our leaders have brought only destruction and division, and we will fight to bring a better way.”
Espousing socialist principles, she chose one of the country’s top universities for her first Mexico City campaign rally, seeking the approval of students. Many of them are first-time voters.
“For many years the indigenous have been used to win votes with false promises, so it’s great to see a candidate emerge from one of their own,” student Hector Cervantes said. “She’s a ray of hope for the future of Mexico.”
Marichuy is a leading figure in the Mexican Indigenous Council, a political body representing the rights of those it calls Mexico’s “original people.” Indigenous people make up nearly one-fifth of Mexico’s population, yet many say they feel invisible.
“We feel ignored,” Patricia Moreno of the Nahua People said. “Hopefully through this campaign we can remind our country that we are here, and that our voice can be heard.”