Lucrecia Hernández Mack (16 November 1973 – 6 September 2023) was a celebrated figure in Guatemala, known for her impactful contributions in the fields of medicine and politics.
Early Life and Education Born in Guatemala, Hernández Mack pursued her passion for medicine at the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala. Later, she went on to achieve a master’s degree in Public Health at Rafael Landívar University.
Political Activism Lucrecia wasn’t a stranger to voicing her opinions. She took a stand against the presidency of Otto Pérez Molina. However, her most notable protest came in 2017. As the head of the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance of Guatemala, she boldly resigned from her position. The resignation was in direct protest over President Jimmy Morales‘ controversial decision to expel United Nations anti-corruption investigator, Iván Velásquez Gómez.
Stint as the Minister of Health Her leadership qualities were unmistakable. On 27 July 2016, she took over the reins from Alfonso Cabrera as the Minister of Public Health. This appointment marked her as the first woman to ever hold that position. She took the helm after Cabrera chose to step down due to personal and health issues.
Hernández Mack’s resignation from the post was a significant event. She accused President Morales of fostering “impunity” and wasn’t alone in this act of defiance. Alongside her, three vice-ministers: Adrián Chávez, Juan Carlos Verdugo Urrejola, and Édgar Rolando González Barreno also handed in their resignations.
International Collaborations Outside of Guatemala, Hernández Mack collaborated with prestigious organizations. She worked as a consultant for the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization.
Personal Struggles and Legacy Delving into her personal life, Hernández Mack’s family history was tinged with tragedy. She was the daughter of Myrna Mack, a noted Guatemalan anthropologist. In a heartbreaking episode in 1990, Myrna was assassinated by a military death squad for her vocal criticism of the Guatemalan government’s actions towards the indigenous Maya peoples. This sorrowful event culminated in a landmark court case, Myrna Mack Chang v. Guatemala, resulting in the state compensating the family.
In her final battle, Lucrecia Hernández Mack confronted ovarian cancer. She passed away on 6 September 2023, leaving behind two sons. Her life, though filled with challenges, serves as a beacon of hope and resilience for many. Her legacy in the realms of medicine, activism, and politics is undeniably powerful and will be remembered for generations to come.