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“They are not martyrs, but victims”: Cubans ask for the end of Compulsory Military Service

Servicio Militar, Cuba

MIAMI, United States. – Hundreds of Cuban users have begun to demand on social networks the end of Active Military Service (compulsory for men over 18 years of age), following the death of several recruits sent to extinguish the flames of the fire at the Base de Super tankers in Matanzas on August 5.

In this way, in the last few hours the labels #NoAlServicioMilitarObligatorio and #NoAlServicioMilitarObligatorioEnCuba have gone viral.

“Not only because the life of a young person is in danger at the hands of the military… Also at that time the most valuable energies are lost and dreams and desires are postponed that are at equal risk of being lost forever. #NoAlServicioMilitarObligatorio in Cuba”, tweeted the plastic artist Julio Llópiz Casal.

Poster posted on social media (@qbolasere_/Twitter)

“Enough of children turned into martyrs”, wrote the activist Magdiel Jorge Castro.

“Not one more truncated smile. Not a more fractured Cuban family. Not one more vital project incinerated”, asked Leo Fernandez Otano.

For his part, the user identified as “a poet there” wrote: “I do not want nor can I imagine the pain of the relatives of the victims. Especially those who only passed the compulsory military service, and who went there by order of others, to die. They were neither firefighters nor are they martyrs now: they are victims,” he asserted.

Professor Roberto Garces Marrero opined that “the idea of ​​the need for the SMO is the same that inspired the UMAP: (de)train young people based on a militaristic ideology subjecting them to inhuman conditions. #NoAlServicioMilitarObligatorioEnCuba. How many have died in the Service? Who takes on that responsibility?” she wondered.

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The LGBTIQ+ activist Adiel González Maimo also joined the debate when tweeted: “The SMO is a mistake. Once again it is proven. I don’t even want to remember the horrors that are experienced in those units because there are too many stories (not to mention the flagrant homo/transphobia that is suffered in the FAR/MININT)”.

“I am not against the existence of the ‘Service’, but that it be voluntary for all people, and not only for cisgender women,” he added in another tweet.

The demands on the island’s regime to put an end to the Active Military Service (SMA) have gained momentum after it was learned that several of the people who died in the fire at the Matanzas Supertanker Base were recruits between the ages of 18 and 21 who were serving the SMA and that they were sent to extinguish the flames.

Several sources close to the victims have reported the youngsters Leo Alejandro Doval, Adriano Rodríguez and Fabián Naranjo as missing.

Although there is no official public information on the status of these young people, or the rest of the disappeared, relatives and friends of the boys have posted messages of condolences on social networks.

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Just this Thursday, the regime of the Island confirmed the second fatality of the fire at the Matanzas Supertanker Base. This is the young firefighter Elier Correa, who was in critical condition “with burns incompatible with life.”

The 24-year-old, who was serving the SMA, died in the early hours of this Thursday, as announced by the Cuban Minister of Public Health, José Ángel Portal Miranda, during the “meeting to check the actions to confront the fire.” .

Although the Cuban State does not make information transparent in this regard, reports of deaths during Active Military Service (SMA) are systematic. At the end of July CubaNet published an incipient database where the deaths of young people while complying with the SMA are recorded.

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