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  • Maria de Jesus Patricio Martinez shows a document after she registered to stand as an independent candidate, Mexico City, Mexico, October 7, 2017.

    Maria de Jesus Patricio Martinez shows a document after she registered to stand as an independent candidate, Mexico City, Mexico, October 7, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Published 21 January 2018

Marichuy's support from the Zapatistas marks a more visible turn for the insurgent movement, which has faded in recent years.

Unidentified armed men attacked Sunday the vehicles of the journalists following indigenous presidential candidate Maria de Jesus Patricio “Marichuy” Martinez near Tepalcatepec, state of Michoacan, detaining them and robbing their equipment and cell phones, reported local media.

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'Time to Reconstruct Country from Left': Mexico's Indigenous Candidate Marichuy

Authorities have not confirmed the events yet.

Marichuy was elected on May 28, 2017, by the National Indigenous Congress, CNI, the political arm of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, known by its Spanish acronym EZLN.

Coming from the Nahua community of Tuxpan, in the state of Jalisco, she is a traditional doctor in her community, founder of the health center Calli Tecolhuacateca Tochan in 1992 and a long-time leader in the Indigenous movement.

The Zapatistas announced in December 2016 their plans to elect a female candidate to represent the indigenous community, a move met with mixed reactions as some tried to insinuate the candidate will help the country's right-wing by drawing votes away from two-time left-wing candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Mayor of Mexico City.

The decision to put forward a candidate for the next election marks a break with more than two decades of the Zapatista strategy of rejecting the Mexican state and electoral politics. The EZLN declared war against the Mexican state on January 1, 1994, launching the Indigenous movement in Mexico’s southern state of Chiapas into the international spotlight as an example for autonomous social movements around the globe. The movement has seen victories, but also considerable challenges, including intense repression and criminalization of the struggle at the hands of the state, private landowners, and paramilitary forces.

Meanwhile, Mexico’s major political parties have struggled to gain support in recent years, and voter surveys show all presidential hopefuls vying to win support from as much as a third of the electorate.

The front-runner in most polls is the former Mexico City leftist mayor and two-time presidential runner-up Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.


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