defend the health and rights of the least advantaged
As the health promoters and community looked deeper
into the underlying causes of poor health, they began
to look for ways in which, through collective action,
they might break some of the links in the chain of
events leading to sickness and death. They started
with some of the links which they thought might be
easier to do something about at the local level, and
which carried less risk of violent response from the
power structure. However, they soon discovered that
any attempt by the poor to correct inequities of the
status quo can precipitate a heavy-handed response
from those in positions of privilege.
Early actions organized through the Piaxtla health
program mostly related to the ways in which poor campesinos
were systematically cheated, mistreated, or exploited.
Some of the activities initiated to address these
- Demanding the owner of the local bus route to
lower fares to the legal rates;
- Starting a farmworkers-run maize bank;
- Initiating a cooperative fencing program;
- Organizing, led by village women, to shut down
the public bar in order to reduce drunkenness and
- Organizing a protest to take control of the village
water supply away from a wealthy man and to introduce
a public water system controlled by the community.
We will briefly describe a few of these initiatives.