Peru criticized for 'avoidable' military draft

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 26, 2013 at 6:28 pm •  Published: March 26, 2013
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But the pay for draftees is quite low.

Cueto said it starts at a little more than $100 per month and increases to $146 per month, with room and board included. Peru's minimum wage is $283.

Much of the opinion swirling online in social media and in Peru's news media opposes the draft.

"I'm against it. They would be depriving young people of their right to decide. A lot people here can't afford to pay (the fine)," said Eduard Rodriguez, a 24-year-old gastronomy student. Rodriguez said if he were drafted he would work in order to pay the fine.

Military service is obligatory in some nations neighboring Peru, including Bolivia and Colombia, where the ranks of the armed forces are generally filled by the poor.

In Colombia, students and priests are among those exempt from service but they must pay fees ranging from $278 and $1,000 depending on social class.

In Ecuador, military service is voluntary and also largely attracts the poor.

Chile has a draft only when recruiting falls short, and its armed forces organizes job fairs for soldiers leaving military service.

In Mexico, one year of military service is obligatory for all 18-year-olds. Few are able to get out of serving and avoiding service is punishable by up to a year in prison.

An independent Peruvian security expert, Luis Giacoma, said that Peru's reinstatement of the draft goes against the global trend of volunteer militaries "with fewer members and more technology. Massive armies are by now obsolete. Now, what is being sought is professional solders."

Peru's armed forces have more than 100,000 members.

Defense Ministry spokeswoman Sara Alcantara said she could not provide a more precise number for reasons of national security.

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Associated Press writers Frank Bajak and Franklin Briceno in Lima contributed to this report.

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