Who Was the First Indigenous Woman Presidential Candidate in Mexico?

Perhaps *when* would be a good question too. María de Jesús Patricio Martínez, known as Marichuy, became a presidential candidate in 2017 for the 2018 Mexican Presidential elections. Marichuy is a Nahau woman who was born in Jalisco in 1964. She is a traditional healer who’s used Nahau wisdom to cure many people who cannot afford Western doctors. Marichuy was chosen by the National Indigenous Congress (CNI in Spanish) to represent the indigenous tribes of Mexico’s interests, around 12 million people.

Marichuy strove to be included on the ballot for the 2018 election, but the rules were stacked against her. In order to achieve official candidacy, the law requires 866,593 signatures from voters in 17 of the 32 states within 120 days. Marichuy received 280,000. Unlike the US, where handwritten lists of names and addresses suffice, in Mexico each signature must be registered using a cell phone app, including a photo of the front and back of the voter’s registration card and a photo of the person. To buy a Smart phone costs nearly a month’s pay for a Mexican minimum wage earner, a price most people cannot afford. This created a large technological hurdle for her supporters. Volunteers gathered signatures in plazas, at universities and in parks, saying, “Sign for Marichuy, vote for whoever you want.” (“Firma por Marichuy, vota por quien quieras”. )

In the end, although the number of signatures was not high enough to confirm her official candidacy, Marichuy succeeded in her goal to highlight issues important to indigenous Mexicans. She showed that political candidacy was unfairly inaccessible to an average Mexican citizen. As a spokesperson for the National Indigenous Congress, Marichuy talked about women’s rights, violence against women, indigenous communities’ self-determination and the inclusion of all sectors of Mexican society in the political process. She represented the native peoples of Mexico with dignity and grace. I hope she will run again in 2024.

Gracias for reading Fake Flamenco! Olé!  –Rebecca

Want to know more about women in Mexican history? See the archives.

ProtoplasmaKid CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)



Rebecca Cuningham

7 thoughts on “Who Was the First Indigenous Woman Presidential Candidate in Mexico?

  1. As Rosaliene said, the rules are created by and for the wealthy elites in order to preserve their political dynasties. I’ve seen similar scenarios take place in elections in Thailand and Colombia. Thanks for sharing this very brave and strong woman’s story.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. By even just attempting to run in this presidential race, Marichuy was bringing awareness to indigenous issues. Visibility is so important; it may inspire the next person to run. Great blog, I look forward to reading more.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s