A Government Source Confirms Compulsory Military Service for Journalism Students

Until now, military service was mandatory for women only for those in the International Relations career. (X/Embassy of Cuba in Haiti)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, January 31, 2024 — An interview with a young woman on a radio station in Cabaiguán, Sancti Spíritus, is the only official confirmation, for the moment, that women who wish to study journalism in Cuba must pass compulsory military service beginning next year.

The information was reported by the independent newspaper CubaNet last December. This Tuesday, a conversation with the 17-year-old student Carolina de la Caridad Rodríguez López, published by La Voz de Cabaiguán, confirms it.

“Fulfilling one year of active military service, an added requirement for young women who opt for the bachelor’s degree in journalism for the 2024-2025 academic cycle, will challenge Carolina Rodríguez, who is willing to combine her curls with the olive green uniform,” joked the announcer in the audio.

The requirement illustrates the regime’s control over this profession

The requirement – similar to the one that women who want to study International Relations have to pass – joins the aptitude tests that journalism students exclusively must take and illustrates the regime’s control over this profession.

On December 1, the official media Qva en Directo published a note explaining the obligation to fulfill one year of military service by young women who decide to study journalism. However, hours later that same day, it withdrew the publication, according to Diario de Cuba.

Compulsory military service has been the subject of criticism and denunciations inside and outside the Island. The organization Archivo Cuba, for example, determined in a report that, since the establishment of compulsory service in 1963, it has caused the death of at least 54 young people. Suicides have been especially silenced by the authorities, as evidenced by some reports published by this newspaper. In 2022, several of the fatalities from the fire at the Matanzas Supertanker Base were young people in military service who performed their duties as firefighters.

Compulsory military service has been the subject of criticism and denunciations inside and outside the Island

The new regulations may have long-term effects on the number of women who decide to study journalism on the Island, which is expected to continue to decline. Last September, Cubadebate reported that they have vacancies for journalists and repeated the offer in January. In addition, since October, the leading State newspaper Granma has offered “job opportunities” for reporters, photographers, design specialists, editorial layout designers, translators, specialists in social studies and experts in document management.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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