Dra Berta Elena Muñoz Mier
Translation by Nancy Davies
La Doctora, hero to the people of Oaxaca in 2006, died on Friday, July 26, in Oaxaca. Her gravelly voice was known to us
all during the many crises in which she adressed us via Radio UABJO, at the Autonomous University of Benito Juarez. The
gravelly voice was, sadly, due to emphysema, and she died of respiratory failure.
Just this last week I ran into a woman at the market, familiar to me from when Berta held weekly post traumatic healing
therapy sessions in the zocalo after her return from exile. Rosa Maria asked me if I had seen La Doctora recently, and
sadly, I had not, although I knew she was ill. Rosa, who is past middle-age, lacking many teeth on her bottom gum,
overweight and with creamed-coffee colored skin, was one of them. In addition to those who listened and came running
when Berta summoned people by radio to defend the university or other barricades, there was also another group,
"activists; in the sense that in 2006 most people of the working class supported the uprising, brought food and
blankets, manned the barricades, marched when the APPO scheduled marches, and lost loved ones or were themselves swept
up in the November 25 military brutality. She is one of those, and I believe her love of Berta Muñoz was a direct result
of Berta's concern for those who suffered.
It was common enough to see La Doctora, cigarette in hand, waiting ready in an ambulance during any APPO action. After
the suppression, she fled to Bolivia to escape arrest and when she finally returned her position at the medical school
as an instructor in public health had been cancelled. She struggled to be reinstated or at least paid what she was owed
in pension, but as far as I know, neither ever happened.
Without homage, as she wished, she went.
FROM NOTICIAS, the translation is mine, mea culpa for errors
Farewell to social fighter
Dr. Shotgun headed skyward
No tributes, leaving a legacy for the left and democratic activism
by OCTAVIO VÉLEZ ASCENCIO
With no homage, as she expressed in her wishes, she was bid farewell by dozens of followers of the teachers and popular
movement in the Nuñez Banuet funeral home.
Among candles, flowers and religious images, anarchists, Marxists, Maoists, Trotskyites, Guevarra and Zapatista
followers, as well as professors, union memebers, social activists, defenders of human rights, barricade builders and
people with no miltant attitude whatsoever, came to the chapel to offer their condolences to the family and accompany
"Doctor Shotgun" on her passage to another radio frequency.
In addition, Francisco Martínez Neri, rector (in 2006) of Universidad Autónoma “Benito Juárez” de Oaxaca (UABJO),
attended. Now a local deputy for the PRD, he was Rector of UABJO when Muñoz Mier, from the microphones of Radio
Universidad, called the people to defend the autonomous university from an imminent attack by the Federal Preventive
Police (PFP) on November 2, 2006.
By decision of the doctor, no homage whatsoever was carried out, except for an honor guard of her faculty compañeros
from the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the UABJO, surrounding a coffin gray colored coffin covered with her
constant medical tunic.
During the wake, a video was shown of Muñoz Mier filmed days before her death. "If you are seeing this, well it's
because I exist no longer; I died... I went peacefully because life owes me nothing, nor do I owe anything to life; I
die peacefully because I did what I wanted to do in my life, which is to struggle", she affirmed on the recording.
She thanked those who prayed for her health and those who attended her wake, along with those who aided her to leave
Radio Universidad and Oaxaca after the repression by the PFPand the local police corporations on November 25 of that
She underlined that Oaxaca was her great love, in spite of her having been born in Morelia, Michoacán and not
understanding all its problems.
"I had a great love, my great love was Oaxaca, not at first sight but as the song says , slowly, slowly it was placing
itself in my heart. I knew its regions, its mountains, its seas, its valleys, its odors, its flavors and when I realized
it, I was already trapped. I love Oaxaca above everything," she indicated.
She called on the followers of the teachers and popular movement to not abandon the General Civil Hospital “Aurelio
Valdivieso”, where she had worked since the 1970s.
"My passions have been two, the hospital and the school; the hospital is a bastion which resolves health problems for
the whole state, but it's left abandoned. It should help the citizens and demand from the government the budget it
deserves, for medicines, surgeons, nurses," she affirmed.
La Doctora Escopeta also called on the followers of the teachers popular movement to organize itself, it being the only
solution in the end to achieve benefits for the community.
"One has to have one's feet firmly on the ground, with head high and straight. Dreams together with reality are
important to make things better, but always with a hot heart and a cool mind, " she asserted.
In the funeral home the group of Tapacamino, whose song “The Song of the Barricade”, is one of the emblematic songs of
the teachers popular movement, performed.
"I die in peace because I did what I wanted to do in my life, which is to struggle"
"My great love was Oaxaca, not at first sight, but as the song says, slowly, slowly it was in my heart:" Bertha Muñoz
Mier, 'luchadora social.'