Victor Zurita, Mexico's First Deaf Politician

To the 18 Deaf people who hold or have held political representation positions using a Sign Language around the world (see infographic here), a deaf person from Mexico is added as a local deputy since September 2021. Victor Zurita is deaf from birth, uses Mexican Sign Language and is 25 years old at the time of his appointment as deputy, the first political office held by a Deaf person in the history of Mexico.

Victor Zurita, Deaf deputy in Mexico
Víctor Zurita, in the center, during a presentation of his political agenda (photo: ACG)


How Was He Elected?

Mexico is a federal state, that is, it is composed of free and sovereign states with relative autonomy to legislate (other examples of federal states are the United States of America, Germany or Brazil). It is not for nothing that the official name of this country is the United Mexican States. Thus, Mexico has 31 states, one of which is Michoacán, in the west of the country. In turn, each state is divided into federal electoral districts, with a total of 300 districts throughout the country. Michoacán is organized into 12 electoral districts, one of which, District 10 (or X Federal Electoral District of Michoacán) matches the eastern half of the city of Morelia, which is the capital of Michoacán and in 2020 had a total population of approximately 850,000 inhabitants.

The legislative body of Michoacán is the Congress of Michoacán, a unicameral assembly of forty deputies, elected every three years. Well, Victor Zurita was elected to the Michoacan State Congress representing electoral district 10, in Morelia.


In January 2021, Víctor registered with the Internal Processes Commission of Movimiento de Regeneración Nacional (known as Morena), a political party founded in 2011 on the center-left or left of the political spectrum, and in February the media announced Víctor's intention to run for federal deputy, after meeting with Alfredo Ramírez, governor of Michoacán from 2021.

In June 2021, Victor was appointed representative by his party Morena and, finally, the Michoacan State Congress was constituted in its LXXV legislature on September 15, 2021, with Victor Zurita as one of its deputies, who will work in this legislature until September 14, 2024. Victor's political party, Morena, has the largest number of seats in this Congress, ten out of forty (you can see seat distribution here).

In the following video you can see one of the first interviews with Victor by the media, in June 2021 (optional subtitles):


No Time to Lose

Victor wastes no time and, in less than two weeks since the beginning of the legislature, he presented in Congress an initiative to make it more accessible to people with disabilities and open the doors to the participation of people with disabilities in this chamber, including the use of Mexican Sign Language (you can read the full initiative here, in Spanish).

On October 15, 2021, Victor announced his legislative agenda with up to "29 proposals focused mainly on the inclusion and visibility of groups in conditions of vulnerability" distributed in ten thematic axes, proposing to increase the representation of people with disabilities in city councils, aid for sports for people with disabilities, Sign Language interpreters in judicial proceedings, provision of public funds for companies that hire people with disabilities or early care for children with disabilities, among many other measures. On November 11 he proposed an initiative in Congress to toughen penalties for sexual crimes committed against people with disabilities (you can read the full initiative here, in Spanish).

One of his latest initiatives at the time of publishing this article, has been to request, in December 2021, to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography of Mexico (INEGI) to find out how many people are fluent in Mexican Sign Language, since "in the education system there is a lack of training for teachers to learn to communicate with deaf students".

Deaf deputy Víctor Zurita during the presentation of the new image of the Congress of Michoacán in its 75th legislature
Deaf deputy Víctor Zurita during the presentation of the new image of the Congress of Michoacán in its 75th legislature (photo: Changoonga)


Committed to Their Fight

His path was not and is not easy and he still has many barriers to overcome. As soon as the legislature in the Congress of Michoacán began, the Federal Electoral Tribunal withdrew his deputy's seat, although it had to be reinstated after several protests and reactions that made the magistrates reconsider their decision a few days later.

Less than a month after his appointment as a deputy in the Congress of Michoacán, he was invited to an anniversary event of the ABC newspaper, which he attended with his Mexican Sign Language interpreter, but the interpreter was denied entry on the grounds that the tickets were individual and only the deputy could access the event, so Victor left the event. In short, the same people who invited him discriminated against him.

Although Victor has two Sign Language interpreters, he has to denounce that their working conditions are not the same as in other Mexican states, since in Michoacán, his state, they charge 6,000 Mexican pesos (approximately 256 euros or 290 dollars), while in the state of Sonora they charge 20,000 pesos (855 euros or 970 dollars at the exchange rate).

Víctor Zurita en el centro, la intérprete de lengua de signos (derecha) y su secretario personal (izquierda)
Deaf deputy, Víctor Zurita (center), is not allowed access with his Mexican Sign Language interpreter (right) to an anniversary event of the ABC newspaper to which he was invited (photo: Víctor Zurita / El Sol de Morelia)

Victor now chairs the Special Commission on Attention to Persons with Disabilities and serves on the Education and Human Rights Commission in Congress. His resilience and strength as a Deaf person will walk steadily towards fulfilling his commitment from the beginning:

I commit myself to be an ally for all groups in vulnerable situations, particularly with my community, I commit myself to be a worthy representative and defend our rights

You can follow Deputy Víctor Zurita on his social media:



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