Argentine government launches National Service program

The Argentine government published a resolution that launched a National Service program last week. 

The Minister of Security, Patricia Bullrich, presented the initiative. The program is open to young people between 16 and 20 years old and is voluntary to sign up to. It will be carried out by the national gendarmerie.

“[The National Service program] is a tool to provide training opportunities to young people through democratic and republic values, as well as fostering personal commitment to the community and responsible habits. It is also a stimulus to encourage young people to complete compulsory education and promote the development of skills for work, cultures, trades and sports,” announced the Ministry of Security.

A pilot test of the program will be run until 31 December and then from 2020 onwards the Ministry will implement it with national institutions.

The Argentine Gendarmerie describes itself as: “A security Force, of a military nature with characteristics of an intermediate force, that performs its tasks in the framework of the Internal Security, National Defense and supports Foreign Policy.”

Obligatory military service ended 25 years ago following the death of a soldier in Neuquén. The victim, 19-year old Omar Carrasco, joined the military on 3 March 1994 and was reported as “disappeared” 3 days later.

He had been killed after being tortured by members of the army, according to Perfil. His body was then hid and found a month after his death.

The scandal moved the country to the point that ex-president Carlos Menem put an end to obligatory military service.

In January 1996, a trial found soldiers Ignacio Canevaro, Víctor Salazar, Cristian Suárez and Carlos Sánchez guilty and they were imprisoned.

In 2000, Salazar and Suárez were released from prison, and in 2004 Canevaro was released as well.

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