Monday, September 30, 2013

Called to be Mosquito Hunters

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

HAVANA, Cuba, September, – 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" -

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