La Cruz Blanca Neutral

La Cruz Blanca Neutral (The Neutral White Cross) was a volunteer infirmary and relief service established during the Mexican Revolution to care for those wounded in the conflict. The Red Cross refused to treat insurgents and the Neutral White Cross was developed to treat all combatants. After their initial success in Ciudad Juárez, the organization spread out through 25 states in Mexico for the duration of the war. It continued as a quasi-governmentally subsidized organization into the 1940s, when it was converted into an organization to assist children. The organization is still operating in Mexico City.

La Cruz Blanca Neutral was a volunteer infirmary and relief service founded by Elena Arizmendi Mejia in 1911. She was enrolled in school at the School of Nursing of the Santa Rosa Hospital (now the School of Nursing at the University of the Incarnate Word) in San Antonio, Texas when the war broke out. Her school was next door to the Texas residence of her family friend whom she supported, Francisco I. Madero, who challenged Porfirio Díaz for the presidency in 1910, was jailed by Díaz but escaped and fled to Texas.[4] Reports of the war, casualties and the refusal of the Red Cross to treat insurgents, caused Arizmendi to return to Mexico City via train on April 17, 1911. Once there, she arranged a personal meeting with the head of the Red Cross organization. When the director reiterated that they would not treat revolutionaries, Arizmendi decided to found an organization that would treat her countrymen. She and her brother, Carlos, rallied medical students and nurses to the cause.

They formed an association under the guidelines of the Geneva Conventions and she acted as fundraiser, enlisting the help of celebrities like María Conesa, Virginia Fábregas, and Leopoldo Beristáin. After numerous fundraising events, they had collected sufficient funds for a field hospital and on May 11, 1911, set off for Ciudad Juárez. Arizmendi and Carlos, formed the first brigade with Dr. Ignacio Barrios and Dr. Antonio Márquez and nurses María Avon, Juana Flores Gallardo, Atilana García, Elena de Lange, and Tomasa Villareal. The second brigade, led by Dr. Francisco, left the following day and on the 14th a third brigade, headed by Dr. Lorenzo and ten nurses including Inocenta Díaz, Concepción Ibáñez, Jovita Muñiz, Concepción Sánchez, María Sánchez, Basilia Vélez, María Vélez and Antonia Zorilla, set off for Juárez. Arriving in the city, they found devastation and again Arizmendi had to rally for funds.