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    Called to be Mosquito Hunters

    Called to be Mosquito Hunters / Jose Hugo Fernandez
    Posted on September 29, 2013

    HAVANA, Cuba, September, www.cubanet.org – The generalship of the regime
    is showing particular interested in incorporating women into the army.
    In several sites in Havana where people gather signs have been posted
    lately calling on young unemployed women to sign up for active military
    service. The proposal includes two supposedly tempting benefits: a
    starting salary of 450 Cuban pesos a month (the basic salary of
    professionals in Cuba), and the chance to take advantage of the
    so-called Order 18, of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, which allows them
    to opt for university majors of their choice, with study facilities,
    according to their new circumstances.

    Suddenly, one might think that this project is another nod from the
    regime to international progressives, whose members might easily have
    noticed the rancid sexism that prevails in the uniformed forces on the
    Island, where, if they are not abundant, there is also a lack of women,
    though they fill ornamental roles.

    It seems then, that among the “reforms” to update their particular
    socialism, the generals resolved to finally grant women their rightful
    place among the ranks. However, if that were the purpose, it’s thinly
    reflected in some of the details of the call. For example, the
    professional salaries (which aren’t) that these young women will be paid
    from the start, don’t seem targeted to stimulate their attraction to the
    military life, because during their first two years they will work as
    civilians in the mosquito vector campaign, work already performed by
    hundreds of thousands of women and men (for a much lower salary) without
    the academic requisites they are demanding from potential candidates.

    So these girls are not going to serve directly as the olive-green
    uniformed, nor are they going to study in the military academies to
    become technicians and officers in the army. Apparently, their
    recruitment will not entail any direct benefit to the FAR. They are
    being called to take on a civilian task, for which they will receive a
    “privileged” salary, along with other facilities, on behalf of an
    employer who does not need them.

    This leaves some doubts in the air, in addition to two or three
    half-baked conjectures.

    Is the call nothing more than a new strategy to confront the practice of
    prostitution, continually growing and more scandalous among young Cuban
    women? Do the generals really believe that with a salary equivalent to
    less than 20 CUC a month, and offers of university entrance, they are
    going to manage to recruit girls en masse for their later control under
    the military regime? If so, why summon only those with twelve years of
    schooling? And why does it have to military who take on an eminently
    civil responsibility? Is it that the civil institutions are not
    sufficiently reliable, or they can only attract these young women with
    the economic incentive needed to inflate the payrolls, only to encourage
    these young women?

    Any effort is welcome to try to contain the marked tendency of young
    Cuban women today towards prostitution. But paying a professional salary
    to high school graduates to devote themselves to hunting mosquitoes for
    two years, doesn’t seem a very lucid approach, neither in terms of civic
    rescue, nor as a response to the demands of the gender advocates.

    To make matters worse, the decision contains at least two staggering
    inconsistencies. On the one hand, those who work in the mosquito control
    campaign have had their wages lowered recently, to the point that these
    girls would earn 100 Cuban pesos more to do the same job, but with less
    experience. On the other hand, it represents a useless swelling of
    payrolls, at exactly that time when they’re talking about laying off the
    hundreds of thousands of State employees as the regime insists on the
    need to eliminate unproductive jobs.

    The anxiety of the generals before the imperative to win the support of
    these girls is understandable. Especially if we give credence to the
    assumption that the heir to the throne, Mariela Castro, convinced them
    that any good work they undertake against prostitution, shall be
    promptly rewarded by the praise of liberal forums and the international
    press. But it wouldn’t cost them anything to chart their strategies
    better, so as not to so obviously shoot themselves in the foot.

    José Hugo Fernández. Note : The books of this author can be purchased here.

    From Cubanet

    27 September 2013

    Source: “Called to be Mosquito Hunters / Jose Hugo Fernandez |
    Translating Cuba” –
    http://translatingcuba.com/called-to-be-mosquito-hunters-jose-hugo-fernandez/

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