Doctor, Voice of the Radio Universidad, Oaxaca, Mexico, 1947 -



From "The Memoirs, Volume Two" -

            I first met the Doctora Bertha when she was head of the Department of Epidemiology at the General Hospital in Oaxaca and, therefore, in charge of all AIDS patients of the state.




            Dr. Bertha came on board early with us and agreed to be one of the signers of the founding of the Frente Común Contra el SIDA.





            She gave the first talks on AIDS to our group and to others.  She gave a great talk, and always explained very clearly how to put on a condom.  I thought, perfect!




            She always had a lot to say at our planning meetings.  Here she is with Nancy Mayagoitia and Paco Espinoza, all working hard.




            My friend Maria Manhattan was in town then and took this nice photo of Nancy and Bertha.  After it appeared in the papers, it inspired the following political cartoon.  Nice.






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            I remember walking through the zócalo one day with Dra. Bertha and conversing as we could, my poor Spanish, of course.  And one of us mentioned the hills around Oaxaca and how pretty they were.

            “Ah, the mountains around Oaxaca!  I always feel they are protecting me,” said the Doctora.  “I can look up at them and know they keep away the bad.  I will always feel safe here, the mountains will protect me.”






            Bertha Elena walked in all the AIDS Walks we had.  Ten kilometers!  In the first one, she put a T-shirt on my dog, Dottie.  Everyone loved it except Dottie.




            Bertha had a lot to say at our tenth anniversay meeting ...






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            The very first deaths from the political repression of Ulises Ruiz in Oaxaca, were received by Dr. Bertha Muñoz in the Hospital Civil, below.




            On the front page of the newspaper, La Jornada, of Mexico City, she was called "Doctor Shotgun" for her efforts on behalf of the protesters in Oaxaca.




            Dr. Bertha Muñoz and her sons were forced into hiding by the repressive government of Ulises Ruiz for her comments about social justice on the Radio Universidad, December, 2006.




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            An interview with Dr. Bertha Elena recently filled an entire page of the Mexico City newspaper, LA JORNADA, where she urged greater resistance to the corrupt regime of Ulises Ruiz, June 26, 2007.




            Death threats against her life and those of her children forced her to flee Oaxaca in December of last year.  She reported being ready to go to Cuba, but decided the need for trained doctors was not as great as in Bolivia, where she is now in the capital of La Paz doctoring to the poor.



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In December, 2007, I wrote:


            Finally, my friends, I would like to mention one further thing.  I received a moving letter this week from my long-time friend, the Doctora Bertha Elena Muñoz, a strong activist in AIDS causes, human rights and the People’s Assembly, APPO.  She was the voice of the University Radio during the government repression in Oaxaca and nick-named “Doctor Shotgun” in the national press.  She has been in forced exile from Oaxaca for the last year and I have no idea where she is.


            She wished me well and all the members of our Frente Común.  She said she was “filled with joy” to see her entry on my Encyclopedia.  She remembered fondly, “how the years have passed!”  She said, of the doctora in those pictures, “hardly a skeleton is left,” except for the “spirit to keep up the good fight, which will never die.”


            She sent a “warm hug” and promised to keep in touch.


            Thanks, Doctora.




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            On January 28, 2008, the weekly CORREO DE OAXACA reported the Doctora "in exile from the country," below.





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