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The Other Health

The Other Health

By Subcomandante Marcos

Remarks by Delegate Zero (Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos) at the opening exhibition of the La Otra Salud sector on April 30, 2006. He points out how capitalism turns health into a commodity, and how health administrators turn the patient into a commodity. client from whom you have to get as much money as possible without necessarily implying that you will be healthier.


“Well colleagues, colleagues, this from the other campaign, what we are doing to listen to has allowed us to discover that the same people organize themselves in things that we had not even imagined.

In Jalapa we therefore found a group of scientists from various branches who were concerned about how capitalism is taking science out and making it produce death when it is assumed that one as a scientist does not get involved to destroy but to preserve or build. They said that they were in a process of making up science, especially medical science, so that in universities or research centers instead of putting together a single project that really reveals what is the purpose of the death system of They distribute this project to universities through corrupt officials or even scientists who are sold, or in other research centers. That parcelization of knowledge and then in a center, now I know that this is being armed clandestinely and it turns out that what seemed innocuous, that seemed neutral, becomes a bomb and I do not mean a bomb that explodes but I mean something that is going to produce harm, and that is how probably in our own universities and research centers, I mean those of the world, many of the ills and diseases that are in our country and in the world are produced.

It makes me point out two important points in their position, one is how capitalism turns health into a commodity and how the administrators of that health doctors, nurses, nurses and the entire hospitalization or health distribution apparatus are They also become a kind of foreman of that business and, in effect, as they said here, the patient becomes a client, a client from whom you have to get as much money as possible without this necessarily implying that they will be healthier.

We faced this problem there in the indigenous communities first out of necessity, it is not that we say that we opted for traditional medicine, it is that there was no other and that allowed it to develop on the one hand but we could not face the death rate, above all, not only because of our own development as indigenous communities, which is limited to what nature gives us there in traditional medicine, but because there was always that expectation that this medicine does not cure, calm, nothing else or control ... and That it is the other medicine, the one that is in the hospital, the one that a doctor gives, with this image dressed in white and that in some cases they should have been dressed in black, that… that is the one that cures; When the uprising occurred and we met with you, with the men and women who in Mexico and in the world showed solidarity with our cause, we began not only to receive this help as if it were alms or charity, but also understanding that it was support for a different political project, and we began to find the other doctors, the other doctors, the other male and female nurses who helped us to build that within the indigenous Zapatista communities, they followed their own logic, to break this dependency, ah… so for example when we form our health committees, we not only train them in herbal medicine or traditional medicine but also in the application of vaccines or other medicines. But when we are also in this we are facing this capitalist health market, it is not possible, we are insisting on both sides that it is not possible to create a compartment of freedom, democracy and justice, that is why our struggle is national. No matter how much we advance as Zapatista communities, we are always brushing against the edges and that system of exploitation, exclusion, and racism that we are facing is hitting us. If our conditions are better than before the uprising, in some landless areas like the highlands of Chiapas medicine is free, care and medicine, and we are trying to balance it with strong disease prevention campaigns instead of going to attack the diseases and in that sense it is one of the few advantages of the EZLN structure within the communities, which allows to implement health campaigns efficiently in the communities, such as construction of latrines, care, ah ... there are commissions that They take care that the latrine has lime and the one that does not, is put in the assembly and is criticized. That the children really comply with the vaccines, that these are administered and obtained by the same community structure and not by the government structure; This has allowed that by their own paths, the colleagues have built this that if possible, that the same people take control of health in their hands, which right now is on the one hand of private companies and less and less in the side of the State because it is releasing it, it is detaching it.

Well, there we are, then, happy that the doctors and nurses are arriving and in this contact that is in support of a political cause they begin to tell us what is happening here.

I'm going to go slowly to see if I can catch my breath because in a moment they are going to take me running to the other, right? To the other meeting I mean.

Then they begin to tell us about the working conditions in Social Security, in private medicine, what someone told us about the people who came there, that when you choose the health profession, whatever your level, You are choosing the profession of life, it is not just about life but about fighting pain and this person told us it is about having a special sensitivity to pain that prevents one from being cynical and what is happening with the capitalist system is that there are doctors, nurses who are cynical, who can confront a person who is dying or who is suffering a lot and treat them as if they were asking for a ticket to the cinema, as if they were at a box office to distribute tickets and that , wait for me to have my coffee and all that. Then he says that all this was destroying, not only what was the vocation of health or the vocation of medicine but also the image that the population had of doctors and nurses, nurses and nurses, doctors and doctors, And then that each time the doctor, the nurse, in effect was becoming a foreman, no, he says, a health grocer, in which he receives the money and gives you the box and takes this, and that each time It was seen more than in the racist relationship that was being carried out with the indigenous communities, it was moving uncontrollably towards the rest of the population. It was not just that you were indigenous but if you were already arriving at a health center it was already, you were poor, but then you would not be there in the Insurance or in the pharmacy that, popular or the one they have built and that already meant that You were classified as a poor patient, that is, a patient who cannot pay for the health he needs but what he can, and if it only gives for aspirin or for the better, or whatever you want to call it, that's what the system gives you health and it does not relieve you, and that, as that was the business then, if before, in another era of capitalism medicine, health was a business, now with the new stage the disease was also becoming a business, while The sicker, the more diseases the more medicine is needed. So the pharmaceutical industry, the shameless or the covert one like the old man, what is it called? ¿Dr. Simi, candidate for the presidency of the republic,… in case something ridiculous is missing, there is Dr. Simi to complete the picture.

It was the business of death and pain, the health business had now become a business of death and pain and this was producing not only health effects, because people died or suffered more diseases but I was training health professionals or health workers as you say, in that same system, well, I was training them in that what was convenient was not to cure the person but to get as much as possible out of him in the longest possible time. Then this comes out that when you decide that you are going to study medicine if you are going to have a future, you are not thinking that it is going to attack pain and death but that it is going to be a good business, because if someone frees it financially, it is a doctor . Who would have said that now there were, there will be doctors and nurses and everything, as they said, taxi drivers or selling tacos.

This destruction, not only of the health system but also of its labor market is something that we have to denounce in the other campaign, because there is not a serious program in the political parties up there on this.

Health is as important as putting up a poster or paying for a television spot, we know that well. Health programs are made to the extent that this means the promotion of a political position and not to attack a problem. That is why health systems in remote communities are not business, politically profitable businesses because no one gets there, not radio, not television, not Comercial Mexicana, not Sams, it does not work. That is why these health services are concentrated in the large population centers and the rest of the population is abandoned. Only when there is a trip by a candidate or a president, then something is going to be inaugurated, and that is ridiculous if it continues later, which is what the press does not do, which is to stay after the official leaves, to see that it was only the stone and that there was the inauguration stone or that the shell was made and no doctors or medicines arrived.

There is a documented case of this, which is the Guadalupe Tepeyac hospital, in the area of ​​Las Margaritas, now the autonomous municipality of San Pedro de Michoacán, ... that Salinas arrives and inaugurates the hospital with great fanfare and it turns out that the There was no medicine, it was a white elephant, the pure structure, well painted, well decorated with its Solidarity sign, but it never worked and it really began to work when the Zapatista troops took it, ... they began there to first attend to the wounded of war and then to give the population health until the army entered and took it, after the International Red Cross.

So we say, if these sectors are appearing, first WELL through the Sixth and the Other, it means that these people say, this is my place, I am from here, that is the fundamental thing, here I can find others like me.


That is why the place of the word is important, saying it, and not bringing us to the races,… also, because it gives me tachycardia.

His word is important, his word is very important because others will hear it in other parts and they will say I am thinking the same, just as I listened to the other's partner in Hidalgo there will be others and others in the rest of the country in the other who say Orale !, that's where it is, because maybe the labor movement does not attract my attention, nor the student movement, nor the women's movement or also apart from those, because there are also working conditions, there is this, and I am in this place and I think that something else is possible and I feel alone in the face of the general effort that The Other Campaign implies, it is necessary to unite those voices throughout the republic, then even to begin to build dialogue with other movements in other parts of the world who are considering this.

If we manage to do this, we begin to discover… we will begin to discover resistance and efforts that are not known. First, because it seems that in The Other Campaign it seems to us that they should continue with their effort, with what they are doing, ... complete it. Maybe I'm unfair because they just gave me a document and maybe it's written there. There has to be an X-ray of what health means in capitalism. This process of transforming the business of healing and health to a business of pain and death, ... in order to make it profitable, ... and along with that, I believe that there you will also find many ears and not only the sector in the who are there but the entire population, because they will find many who do want to get into this, and ... well, it is possible to raise another health as well as talk about another economy, another politics, another culture, other information and make a encounter or several encounters, or something where these problems are exposed and we can tell all those people, all those men and women who are in the sector, tell them ... rather answer the question, is this the place for them? Yes, The Other Campaign is the place for everyone below, for everyone who is anti-capitalist.

There is one of the very important parts in what you can advance, which is to dissect the discourse of the current political class and really locate what its purpose is in terms of the health of the population, ... no matter what political party. If it is true, as we think, that in capitalism health is a business that is also fed with the business of pain and death, then to what extent are the programs of the different political parties facing this or not. We think that they are not facing it, but if they manage to dissect it, the entire framework of the discourse of the supposed political options up there collapses, and not only for the population, but also for health workers.

So we think that you have to do it,… no way… That is the defect of The Other Campaign, that when you say something, you have to do it

I'm here for walking on my face.

That is what those who see The Other Campaign from up there, in their couches, see that, as a leftist option, The Other Campaign is wrong. They see this as if it were a complaint box. They forget that when one is saying that this is the problem ... one is committing to say that there is another solution, that we are also going to build the other solution ... it necessarily implies that it is built below, among the people, and NOT that it is present a list of demands to the candidate who is going to win or who is going to lose, knowing that there will be no solution, ... and in any case a dialogue is achieved, yes, let's have a coffee or have a meeting, take a picture ... but there will be no solution down.

What The Other Campaign is doing now, it is better to listen at the time that someone else is speaking ... now, this one has already asked for a hand ... it sucks, who sends him talking, ... and he has to build that, because at the time that someone else hears the word and says pray, this is it, well he says pray, what are we going to do? This is the problem of The Other Campaign that is being solved.

The problem with the campaigns above is that when you ask, what are we going to do? They answer, wait, I am going to do it…, and The Other Campaign has to answer that we are going to do and build that. And it is not a question of waiting for the moment when we all get up and throw out the government, and then we are going to start working on the other health, nowhere is that being considered, not in indigenous communities with their own problems, or in the workers' struggle, neither the students, nor the teachers, we already have to begin to build this. And I would like to respectfully ask you the task that as long as you have contact with the scientific research community, ... the others, those who are not buying this that investment in research is going to increase and there is a DVD that says who he is López and that he is cool and that there is no myth. That it is necessary to build that of the other scientific research because what they explained to us there in Jalapa about how the maquila works is chilling. That would mean that the study centers of the UNAM, for example, or of the UAM, of the UPN, are building models of the annihilation of the human being, ... I am not referring only to the physical annihilation but to its essence as a human being ... the best thing there is to start investigating the scientific work itself and discover all these axes. I take advantage not because you are here but because there I saw Manuel who is walking this way ... Maybe we are unintentionally, without knowing it, or we are playing ducks if we know, we are contributing in what we think is good, that is noble, which is honest and we are actually contributing to the war as it is being built.

And when The Other Campaign says, here it is about taking away from those above and we take everything into our own hands, there is also the production of knowledge that right now is in the hands of officials, or worse, not even in The hands of officials, in the hands of leading names of large companies who are taking this puzzle that made scientific knowledge and putting it together elsewhere, and the figure they are building is truly cadaverous for millions of people

We think we have to build this, we have to build this space, I am sure that as The Other Campaign advances, each one will feel more uncomfortable in the general meetings. I imagine those who are thinking about some meetings: what is this string of bullshit saying, ... I do hear it because no way, who tells me to join the Sixth, no way who sends me to come, but I my problem or where I see that I can do this, I have to find others and that space has to be built without waiting for the sixth commission or the EZLN, but rather taking advantage of this first listening meeting and starting to contact each other.

We ask you, therefore, this stage now if it is already a fitting one, then seek contact with the scientific research community in higher education centers to begin to pose this real problem.

(here a fragment is missing that was impossible to rescue by the audio, but we keep trying)

This myth of neutral science does not collapse with the atomic bomb, it has been well known before. We think that scientists of all sciences will find their place. That all the sciences, each one will find its place and then it will be said that the world that is being built in The Other Campaign is really another, it is not that we are all going to get under a single flag, but that each whoever is building their space.

Thanks partners

Delegate Zero (Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos)

Published in Rebeldia in May 2008


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