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The military service is one of the main ways that allow Cuban citizens
I have to make something up, look for a medical certificate or something like that...the Military Service is hell; you have to spend the whole day marching, receiving orders, specially during the basic military training period...that is not for me.

These are typical phrases male teenagers are using lately when the time to join the military service is coming.

The fear for Military Service, especially for the Basic Military Training stage of the new soldiers expands throughout youths like gunpowder about to explode.

Ignorance and fear, mainly for the strict regime and the military discipline make them think that way. They are not used to wake up so early in the morning, to take in orders, to military training or even less to guard duty.

Hence many youths come to the Basic Military Training with many prejudices that disappear after spending some time in the base.

But...Is that stage really terrible in the life of young men? In order to answer this question, we visit one of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) Base and talk with a group of young soldiers that have joined the Military Service.

The Military Service consists in the direct accomplishment of military duties in units or bases of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) or the Ministry of the Interior (Minint).

The first phase of the Service is comprised between 40 and 60 days and is called Basic Military Training of the new soldiers, since it provides the main knowledge about certain military issues.

This stage is a sudden change in their lives, because many boys come with own habits and find difficult getting used to military discipline.

During this time they are lectured in many aspects so that every single action they do takes in the corresponding responsibility. They are trained political and militarily and the character is forged as men of good.

In the classroom they are taught about the meaning of the struggle of the Cuban people. They are trained to get related to military degrees and the different enemies that might face.

The youths also get related to the duties and rights of the soldiers, since although they are in service, have the right to keep a periodic communication with their relatives and to improve themselves.

"I know I was going to face something difficult, one comes from the streets, used to no discipline at all, to do things one's way and here the discipline is very strong, a complete different regime", says 19 year-old  Dariel Hernández, who has been in this unit for 16 months now.

He worked as a computer specialist in the Provincial Health Care Direction for a year, so when was called up for service felt uncomfortable, nevertheless got used to the idea very soon and decided to accomplish the duty of every Cuban youth to defend the Homeland.

Jorge Michel Castro, graduated from the Art Instructors School in Plastic Arts, also tells that the first days were difficult for him.

"More than once my friends told me that the Military Service is a hard stage. And now I can ratify it, however, to tell the truth the lion is not as fierce as they say.

"It is true that here you face new things, but there are a lot of advantages. You make new friends and those who do not have a profession can apply for college, plus we learn to be responsible, organized..."

"The picture I had of the service was the worst in all senses, but I have proved that I was wrong.

"In my case it has educated me a lot, for which my definition of military service has changed and I consider it necessary for male youths, mainly. In case of a military aggression against our country, we are to defend the Homeland, and this stage prepares us to face a situation of this kind, says Ahmed Martínez, who after the service will continue university studies in the University of Information Sciences.

To Vladimir Ruiz, although hard, it has been a school in all aspects, since now he takes part in home tasks that he would never imagine before, "I'm sure that Military Service is a men trainer school".


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