THE WAR YEARS (1918-1940)
These 22 years are characterized by terrible conflicts and persecutions against homeopathic doctors and their doctrine.
Unfortunately they also characterized by struggles between the homeopaths, because both schools didn’t have a good relationship. In fact the doctors of the National School never accepted the Free School or its graduates.
The first attack against the Free School of Puebla occurred in 1918, when the Governor, allopathic Doctor Alfonso Cabrera issued a decree to sanction the exercise of homeopathy in the state. Dr. Juan Ollivier raised a warrant in name of all the Poblan homeopaths against such injustice. After reaching de Supreme Justice Court of the Nation, and a two year trial, the Governor was defeated (48).
In the capital city, the free school had problems since 1921, when the XXVII fraction of article 73 of the Constitution was derogated. The first action was to declare void the death certificates issued by its graduates alleging that they were not valid. Licentiate Querido Moheno, a person in the juridical circles of the time held the trial before the Supreme Court of Justice, winning it in favor of the doctors of the Free School. In 1926, the new Sanitary code forced schools to register their degrees through the National University of Mexico (not yet Autonomous), which of course denied registry (47). This, in spite of the fact that graduates from the school, like Dr. Eliud GarcÃa TreviÃ±o, had fulfilled the requirements to practice in the United States of America, and were members of Unites States homeopathic societies.
The free school was supervised by outstanding personalities in Mexican politics, like the Rector of the National University, Licentiate JosÃ© Vasconcelos who in 1920 pronounced the celebrated phrase:
“The University is eager to give its help anytime to the Free School of Homeopathy”.
On that occasion the Director, Master Higinio G. PÃ©rez, politely declined the offer of incorporating the institution to the National University with a prophetic vision, because the national School which was incorporated later in 1923 almost disappeared (8).
Little did the words of Vasconcelos serve, because Dr. Alfonso Pruneda, Rector of the University in 1926 didn’t even agree to examine the graduates of the free School who applied for exams to qualify (47).
President Plutarco ElÃas Calles was sympathetic with the cause of homeopaths, and sent the minister of Education, Dr. JosÃ© Manuel Puig Casauranc to inspect the School. The Minster’s dictate was completely favorable, but the government didn’t take any measures to solve the problem.
In the midst of a great number of problems, the Free School of Homeopathy organized the first international homeopathic congress on Latin-American soil, when celebrating the centenary of the Doctoral Jubilee of Hahnemann from August 10th to 16th, 1929, sponsored by the Secretary of Public Education. The site of the event, which had been celebrated previously only in Europe, was the Pan-American Hall of the National Palace (49). It wasn’t until that year when President Emilio Portes Gil a Graduate of the Free Law School, and Provisional President then, issued a decree that backed the existence of free schools and in 1930, the decree that supported the institution legally.
In 1933, the Deputies Chamber revised article 4 of the constitution that regulated the professional practice in our country. Excluding homeopathic medicine was in the project, and legislators were on the verge of achieving it (47). Thanks to the vigorous response of homeopaths through Dr. Castro, who was a deputy then, the project was frustrated (29).
In those days the Free School of Homeopathy of Puebla was assaulted by the pupils of the allopathic school, fighting free hand with the concierge of the school, and with the Director of the School, Dr. Victor Manuel Oropeza, who grabbed the standard of the institution from the hands of the aggressors (48).
The National School also experienced very bad moments since its independence from the Government Secretary in 1923. First it was incorporated into the National University, where it was initially granted a good budget, which was ill managed by the way (29). It was converted into a specialty, dependent on the Faculty of High Studies [â€¡]. We must say that its board of directors didn’t move a finger to defend it (8).
Since 1928, thanks to the decree issued by President Calles, the school formed part of the Secretary of Public Education (29). First it was located at the National Homeopathic Hospital, and latter it roamed through the house of some directors (Fidel de RÃ©gules and JosÃ© Mayoral Pardo). When the school was about to starve, after multiple attacks from allopaths and authorities, the definitive suspension of classes was ordered in 1934. Students had formed a civil association the year before, and pressed legally to avoid disaster. It is important to mention that the leaders of this movement were Luis R. Salinas Ramos, Pedro Castellanos del Saz, and Juan Manuel Ortiz de ZÃ¡rate (8). This struggle involved legal resources, mobilization of workers and professionals syndicates, and even the threat of a general strike in Technical Schools. As a result of this fight the National School went under the tutorship of Engineer Juan de Dios BÃ¡tiz, in the Department of Technical Education in 1935, and that was one of the founding schools of the National Polytechnic Institute in 1937 (8).
In 1936, Rafael LÃ³pez Hinojosa founded the laboratory “Propulsora de HomeopatÃa, S.A.”
Not all authorities could be defeated, and unfortunately the School of Homeopathic Medicine of YucatÃ¡n, and the Hahnemann Hospital, were closed arbitrarily by the Governor Engineer Canto EcheverrÃa, on February 11th, 1938. In spite of a decree of the State’s legislature and the directives, Drs. Rafael ColomÃ© and Alonso V. Gamboa interposed an interdiction trial (6), both were attacked and even threatened with death, (29) so they desisted. The school and the hospital disappeared.
In one more of the innumerable troubles of the Free School, the President of the Republic, ill advised by some homeopaths who were enemies of the Free School, tried to derogate the decree that gave it legal support and destroy the institution in 1939 (29). It is strange that at the beginning of his government, the members of the directive board of the school were invited to General Cardenas’s inauguration, and later he issued a decree to close it (50).
All kinds of resources to defend it were used, from an interdiction trial to closing the building and putting strike flags at the doors to avoid its closure. Teachers supposedly on strike didn’t earn a salary. In the most critical moments, pupils took cover on the roof with bricks and stones, ready to fight before letting their school die. After almost a year of anguish, Dr. Julio Ulloa, director of the school and the member of the Administrative Technical Counsel, got a favorable decree. Interdiction trial 161-939 issued in 1940 voids the unconstitutional acts of the President of the Republic, The Public Education Secretary and the Chief of Police of the Federal District (4). Once again, Homeopathy had won.
STABILTY AND PROGRESS (1940-1960)
These two decades are characterized by the celebration of the first homeopathic congresses on National soil, and by a silent and lethargic growth and rebuilding stage of the institutions.
The National School brought to Mexico the Pan-American Homeopathic Congress for the first time, in its XI celebration in October 1940.
In 1943, the Free School commemorated the centenary of Samuel Hahnemann’s passing with the first National Congress of Homeopathic Medicine (51).
On July 15th, of the same year, the 50th anniversary of the National Homeopathic Hospital was celebrated. Among other ceremonies, a monument to the four founders of the hospital was inaugurated (38).
The monument was a beautiful obelisk with a referring plate and a brass olive crown that framed the date of foundation of the hospital.
The 2nd National Congress to be celebrated in MichoacÃ¡n in 1944 was finally celebrated in Mexico City under patronage of the Free School.
The XVII Pan-American Homeopathic Medical Congress was celebrated in 1946 in Oaxaca City (52).
In spite of the fact that the worst had passed, there were still problems; the National School moved around to several locations, among them the National Homeopathic Hospital until 1949, the year in which it settled for a longer time period (53).
In the State of Jalisco, history tells the sad luck of the existing official institutions (54). The Free Homeopathy School of Guadalajara, founded in 1925 by Higinio G. PÃ©rez and the Homeopathic Institute of Jalisco, founded in 1930 by Dr. Luis JÃ¡uregui, both with official recognition, were fused in 1945 to form the Homeopathic Medicine School of Occident, with the intention of complying with the ever more complicated requisites of the Secretary of Public Education. This new institution was subject to the National School. Unfortunately, this growing school lasted only four years, due to the same internal instability of the national Homeopathic Medicine School, and of the pressure and exigencies of the same school (29). On August 22, 1949, the dissolution act was formalized 18), with which the official teaching of Homeopathy disappeared in Jalisco up to now (54).
In 1951, the “Homeopath Medical Surgeons and Midwifery Association of the Center” was born in Irapuato, State of Guanajuato. It was the first association that reunited graduates form the National School and of the Free School, in harmony and cooperation, a situation not seen previously in history (12).
This group functions nowadays constituted as a college, and it is one of the institutions that have been active for a longer time in the history of homeopathic medicine in our country.
Nineteen fifty one was also a stage of change in the Free School of Homeopathy, when Dr. Leonardo Jaramillo left the General Direction of the school. Dr. Jaramillo was the last disciple of Dr. Higinio G. PÃ©rez to direct the school. From that moment on, things began to change within the institution until they reached terrible excesses.
The III National Congress was held in Mexico City in November 1951, under the organization of both schools (55).
The IV National Congress was celebrated in 1954, under patronage of both schools, and it was the last of this nature in seventeen years (56).
The XXVIIth Pan-American Homeopathic Medical Congress was celebrated in Mexico City in October 1956 ((57).
This stage is closed with the celebration of the XXXIst Homeopathic Medical Congress in Mexico City in 1960 (58).
POSTGRADUATE PROGRAMS (1960-1998)
The fifth stage in history of Homeopathic Medicine in Mexico was characterized by a strengthening of both schools and congresses and also of study groups. It is during this lapse when more reunions have been celebrated and more schools have opened than ever. During the period, six monuments to homeopathy were erected and two existing were remodeled. There have been conflicts with the authorities and also among homeopaths.
The beginning of this stage is the foundation of “HomeopatÃa de MÃ©xico, A.C.” (Homeopathy of Mexico) on September 23d, 1960 by Proceso SÃ¡nchez Ortega, David Flores Toledo and Ranulfo Moreno, with the purpose to spread, study and practice Hahnemannian homeopathy. The expulsion from the Free School of the last orthodox homeopaths (29), resulted in the strengthening of this institution, which has maintained itself as the first institution of orthodox Hahnemannian teaching in Mexico.
This group, founded with the intention of keeping alive the flame that Master PÃ©rez lit in 1919, was the first one to teach homeopathy at a postgraduate level, and has deepened its study of miasmas, an aspect which has characterized this school the world over.
It was also Homeopathy of Mexico which returned Mexican Homeopathy to the international field, with the organization of the General Assemblies and two congresses of the Liga Medicorum Homeopathica Internationalis, in 1980 in Acapulco, State of Guerrero (59), and in 1995 in Oaxaca, State of Oaxaca (60), and with the participation of its professors in courses abroad, both in Latin America and Europe.
The General Assemblies of Homeopathy of Mexico, reunions with international congress began in 1964, having held to date 22 reunions, including the world congresses of 1980 and 1995. Twelve outside reunions have been held also with a national character. During several years they were the only homeopathic events that were held regularly on a National basis.
The Pan American congress was held in Mexico again in 1964 in its XXXVth session 6), in MÃ©rida, State of YucatÃ¡n. In 1968 the XXXIXth reunion was held in Mexico City (62). It has been held on eight more occasions in diverse states of the Republic:
XLI in MÃ©xico City, 1970 (63).
XLIII in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, 1972 (64)
XLIV in Mexico City, 1973 (65)
XLVI in Mexico City, 1978 (66)
XLIX in Guanajuato, Guanajuato in 1981 (67)
LI in Monterrey, Nuevo LeÃ³n, 1984 (68)
LII in Monterrey, Nuevo LeÃ³n, 1987 (69)
LIII in Monterrey, Nuevo LeÃ³n, 1991 (70).
The National congresses of Homeopathy were held again in 1971 (71), with the fifth in 1971, and the sixth in 1973. Alter these they were celebrated irregularly until 1996, since then they are celebrated annually. Other international congresses held in our country have included the First International Homeopathy Encounter, organized by the National School in 1976, in Acapulco, State of Guerrero and the I.H. M. O. in 1990 in Mexico City. Three history forums have also been organized by the enthusiastic Homeopaths of the “BajÃo” (Mexican Spanish for “Lowlands”) during the years 194, 1996 and 1998. This group organized Homeopathic-Medical JourneÃ©s in the 70’s and 80’s.
Nowadays there are eight monuments to Hahnemann and his followers, erected in different years:
1973- Monument to Hahnemann in the park of Santiago Tlatelolco (73).
1978- Mausoleum to Higinio G. PÃ©rez in the Free School of Homeopathy (74).
1985- Monument to Hahnemann in the National School of Medicine and Homeopathy (75).
1991- Monument to Hahnemann in Oaxaca (74).
1992- Monument to Hahnemann in Guadalajara (76).
1997- Monument of the centennial at the National School of Medicine and Homeopathy (74).
The decade of the eighties was especially rich in troubles and difficulties overall at the National Homeopathic Hospital.
In 1984, the General Health Law was formulated to direct all the health policies in the country. Homeopathic Medicine was not in this law, and it was said that the government intended to close the hospital. Through marches, demonstrations and publications in the newspapers the doctors in the Hospital and in the School pressed the authorities until they achieved the inclusion of homeopathy in the mentioned law (77).
This conflict motivated the formation of an organism that should join all the homeopathic institutions existing in Mexico. With this goal the National Homeopathic Consultive Counsel was born; it connects all the homeopathic schools of the country, the laboratories, colleges, associations, etc., and it is directly responsible for dialogue with Mexican authorities (78).
In 1986, the National Hospital was threatened again. Because of the earthquake of 1985, and the subsequent destruction of hospitals, the government tried to install in the grounds of the National Homeopathic Hospital an allopathic hospital, making the institution vanish. The doctors and personnel mounted guard day and night at the doors of the hospital to impede this effort, while new movements and publications in protest were made because of the planned tramping of their rights. Finally, the government denied it had the intention of installing the personnel and equipment of the JuÃ¡rez Hospital there (79).
During that year the Free School suffered the worst crisis in its history. The slow process begun in 1951 ended in a terrible situation that impeded the qualification of graduates and left the school in anarchy and violence. Authorities of the school didn’t comply with requisites of the General Law of Education, so the government suspended the registry of professional degrees. Conflicts with the health and education authorities and within the school itself ended in a student’s coup that caused a total chaos without a recognized authority. Other coups and conflicts occurred constantly leaving the school in emptiness.
The students asked the government to reach an agreement with the National School to qualify the graduates who were (80).
Finally, alter 13 years of all kind of problems, the Free School found itself under a reconstruction period. Relations wit the Health and Education Secretaries were normalized, and the titulation process is open again; the school enjoys all the rights that the decree issued by president Emilio Portes Gil granted it on January 18th, 1930.
Postgraduate studies, which have named this stage of homeopathic medicine, have generalized in our country, and now they exit in several states of the republic. I will only mention those with an official recognition by the governments, and that give specialty level knowledge.
The National School has postgraduate studies in homeopathic therapeutics, officially recognized in 1982 (81).
The Institute of Superior Studies of Oaxaca has the specialty in homeopathy, legally recognized since 1985 (82).
The Superior Institute of Homeopathic Medicine Education and Research of Monterrey, Nuevo LeÃ³n, achieved official recognition in 1982 (81).
The Institute of Technological and Superior Studies “Matatipac”, of Tepic, State of Nayarit, officialized its courses in 1991 (84).
The postgraduate school of Homeopathy of Mexico has the Specialization in Homeopathy, officially recognized since 1996 (85).
In August 1990, The II Congress of the International Homeopathic Medical Organization is held in Mexico City (86).
In 1992, the Mexican Council of Certification in Homeopathy is founded in LeÃ³n, State of Guanajuato (87).
During the Works of the XVIII National Congress of Homeopathic Medicine, held in Monterrey, Nuevo LeÃ³n, the National Academy of Homeopathic Medicine was installed, with the participation of several groups of the national homeopathic community.
In 1998, the Pharmacopea Homeopatica of the Mexican United States was edited for the first time by the Secretary of Health (88).
STAGE VI (1998- )
This new stage in the history of homeopathy is born with the promulgation of the Law for the Exercise of Professions in the State of Jalisco on January 15th, 1998. This document recognizes in its Chapter II, article 5th the profession of homeopathy, totally separated from Medicine (89). This had never happened in our country, and it has grave implications. The third transitory article gives people who pretend to be homeopaths a year to regularize, without any official document. Allopath doctors who have studied Homeopathy as a medical specialty will immediately get their license as homeopaths. The State of Jalisco was characterized by the great number of practitioners it had and in the last years this situation has aggravated. There are around 60 schools where “homeopathy” is taught. In most of them people with only high school as a requisite can study, and sometimes not even that. The government of the state has officially authorized several schools to teach the profession of homeopathy free from medicine, without the requisites that any conscious doctor could imagine.
A Homeopathy Academic group functions within the Inter-institutional Commission for the Formation of Human Resources in Health (ICFHRH) since May, 1999.
Many schools have been founded, not only in the State of Jalisco. Some are serious schools which satisfy all the official requirements, but the majority are schools which do not cover the minimal requirements. Paradoxically, serious institutions which have followed all the legal standards of the ICFHRH, and in fact have obtained the Official Studies Validation Recognition, haven’t been able to get validation by the State authority.
The National Homeopathy Congresses have been being celebrated yearly. The XXVth was celebrated in the Congress Unit of the National Medical Center, site, which in previous years couldn’t have been dreamed of.
The National School of Medicine and Homeopathy of the National Polytechnic Institute presented in 2003-2004 a mixed plan, in which the pupil can choose to follow the Medical Surgeon Career, without having in his curriculum a single homeopathic asignature, or to follow the career of Surgeon and Homeopath Doctor that has traditionally been taught at this institution. This academic plan has been credited by the Mexican Counsel for the Accreditation of Medical Education, Civil Association. For the first time, the National School offers the Allopathic doctor career.
The Collage of Homeopathic Doctors of the Center has kept celebrating the National History Forums in its sessions IV, V and VI of the years 2000, 2002 and 2004.
Homeopathy of Mexico A. C. has continued its annual reunions; one year Congress Assembly with the character of international congress, and alternately, the Reunion of External Groups, whose XV edition was celebrated in CuliacÃ¡n, State f Sinaloa.
The National Homeopathic Hospital has again been the focus of the trade in the last years. With the decentralization policy begun in 1986, it was in risk of loosing its budget and disappearing. In fact there was the chance that it might become part of the Private Assistance Committee of the Federal District. Nevertheless, from one moment to another, its situation turned 180 degrees. Now it depends of the General Direction of Coordination and Development of Federal Reference Hospitals, and it is the nucleus of a pilot plan to install homeopathic consultories in the hospitals of the Health Secretary. On February 17th of this year a workshop to present this program was held with the participation of a great number of members of the national homeopathic community contributing interesting suggestions for the realization of this project.
This modest essay is the first attempt to consign for history the good and bad moments homeopathic medicine has lived through in Mexico during a century and a half.
Our discipline has experienced difficult transitions, not only in this country, but the world over. Almost everywhere, history repeats itself: persecutions, problems, great personal and institutional achievements. In spite of it all, the seed planted in 1810, when Samuel Hahnemann published the first edition of the Organon of Medicine, initiating a profound reform in the medical thinking of mankind, has taken root. At last homeopathy has its place among the sciences.
Mexico was the first country in the world that gave homeopathic medicine official recognition, and to date it is one of the few with a hospital and a school supported by the government.
It is now our turn to continue writing the history.
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Dr. Fernando DarÃo FranÃ§ois-Flores
Archive Secretary of the L. M. H. I.
HomeopatÃa de MÃ©xico A. C.
Carlos B. Zetina 57 C. P. 11800
Mexico D. F. , Mexico
[*] San Juan de UlÃºa is an island outside the port of Veracruz. A Spanish fortress there was the last stronghold of the colonial presence of Spain in Mexico. Translator’s note
[â€ ] Translator’s note: the tragic decene is the name given to the ten days which followed the murder of President Francisco I. Madero, and Vicepresident JosÃ© MarÃa Pino-SuÃ¡rez. The event detonated the ten year Revolution war in Mexico.
[â€¡] Nowadays Faculty of Phylosophy and Letters. Translators’s note.