Child Soldiers Global Report 2008 - Cuba
|Publisher||Child Soldiers International|
|Publication Date||20 May 2008|
|Cite as||Child Soldiers International, Child Soldiers Global Report 2008 - Cuba, 20 May 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/486cb0f8c.html [accessed 20 May 2013]|
Population: 11.3 million (2.7 million under 18)
Government Armed Forces: 49,000
Compulsary Recruitment Age: 16
Voluntary Recruitment Age: 17
Voting Age: 16
Optional Protocol: ratified 9 February 2007
Other Treaties: GC AP I, GC AP II, CRC, ILO 138
Sixteen-year-olds were liable for compulsory military service in the armed forces or the police.
National recruitment legislation and practice
Boys had to register for conscription with the military authorities in the year they turned 16.1 All male citizens were liable for two years of compulsory military service between 1 January of the year they turned 17 and the last day of the year they turned 28. Men up to the age of 45 were liable for service in the reserve for up to one year. A form of alternative service was available as long as the armed forces were able to maintain military preparedness.2 The minimum age for voluntary recruitment for both boys and girls was 17.3
Compulsory military service could be carried out in the armed forces or the police. "Exemplary" conscripts could be granted early release from service or assisted in obtaining a university education on discharge. The government reported that thousands of female volunteers had joined the armed forces.4 All members of the Communist Youth (Juventud Comunista) organization, male and female, were required to do military service, except in cases of physical impediment or need beyond their control.5
A new recruitment drive in December 2004 was reported to have been necessary because of a reduction in the number of males available due to a lower birth rate and the shorter period served by university students.6
Military preparedness was based on a defence system in place since the 1980s called the "war of all the people" (guerra de todo el pueblo). In the event of large-scale external aggression, this would deploy every citizen and all society's moral and material resources organized into a territorial defensive system to confront the enemy in their own place and ways.7
The Youth Labour Army (Ejército Juvenil del Trabajo, EJT) was part of the armed forces, and its members were paid a salary. Their activities focused on promotion of social and economic development and the rational use of natural resources, as well as environmental protection.8
Territorial troop militias (milicias de tropas territoriales) were considered part of the armed forces when on active military service.9 One million men and women in militia units throughout the country had rapid access to infantry and artillery equipment.10
Military training and military schools
Girls and boys who had completed nine years of basic education and were aged 15 could enter one of 14 Camilo Cienfuegos military schools, which provided pre-university vocational officer training and secondary-school diplomas in sciences and humanities. Graduates were expected to go on to one of the military academies.11
There were eight military academies training members of the regular armed forces.12 The College of National Defence was a postgraduate institution managed by the armed forces for the training of military personnel and civilians responsible for national defence.13
Every province had a school for defence preparedness that trained territorial troop militia leaders and municipal, local and regional defence councils. Militias and other bodies regularly participated in "defence days", when they received military training.14
Basic military instruction for defence preparedness was compulsory for pre-university students from age 15.15
Cuba ratified the Optional Protocol in February 2007. It declared that the minimum age for voluntary recruitment into its armed forces was 17, and that the guarantees and safeguards for this provision were contained in Act No. 75 (the National Defence Act) of 21 December 1994 and Decree-Law No. 224 (the Active Military Service Act) of 15 October 2001.16
1 Confidential source, March 2007.
2 Ley de la Defensa Nacional, No. 75.
3 Declaration by Cuba on ratification of the Optional Protocol, 9 February 2007, www2.ohchr.org.
9 Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias, Milicias de tropas territoriales.
11 Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias, Escuelas militares Camilo Cienfuegos.
12 Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias, Academias militares.
13 Preparación para la defensa, Colegio de Defensa Nacional.
14 Preparación para la defensa, Escuelas de Preparación para la Defensa, and Preparación de los Ciudadanos.
16 Declaration, above note 3.