Online Program

Promoting social justice in Zapatista communities in Mexico—an example of the practice of liberation medicine

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 5:10 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Linnea Capps, MD, MPH, Doctors for Global Health, Brooklyn, NY
 The Zapatista uprising on Jan 1, 1994, made headlines around the world at the time. It was a surprise campaign by a previously unknown group, the Ejercito Zapatista para Libaracion National, the Zapatista National Liberation Army. Their uprising started on the day NAFTA took effect. Led by the charismatic Subcomandante Marcos, they overcame the police and other security forces in 4 towns in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas. The fighting didn’t last very long and the Zapatistas returned to their villages in the highlands and the jungle. There was a peace accord signed but the government never enacted the agreement that would give the communities control over their land. This story hasn’t been in the news and many people outside Mexico have forgotten it or never heard it. But the struggle is far from finished. The Zapatistas formed autonomous communities and created a governing structure completely apart from the governments of the official municipalities and the national government. They refused government health care and education. Doctors for Global Health has been working in Chiapas since 1998. We send volunteers to a small rural hospital, Hospital San Carlos, and support its community health program and the Mexican physician who accompanies health promoters in autonomous communities. This presentation will discuss the work with the Zapatista communities as an example of the practice liberation medicine and how to consciously use health and health care to support them in their struggle for human dignity and social justice.

Learning Areas:

Clinical medicine applied in public health
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Provision of health care to the public
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Discuss "liberation medicine" in the context of the Zapatista revolt in Chiapas, Mexico. Describe how this style of health care intervention can support human dignity and social justice.

Keyword(s): International Health, Social Justice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: This abstract will present an international health project that I have in which I have personally participated for years and Global Health is my area of expertise.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.