EspañolColombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced on Wednesday that he will end compulsory military service in Colombia and replace it with a mandatory community service, as soon as he signs a peace agreement with the FARC guerrilla.
“We are going to do what a lot of armies do, and that is to recruit troops voluntarily. That’s why we are going to eliminate the military service, because it will no longer be necessary,” said the president. Santos noted that, with the current system, it is young people from the lower classes in Colombia who mostly fill army ranks.
The opposing candidate in the upcoming presidential election, Óscar Iván Zuluaga, quickly expressed his disagreement. “Military service should be available for all in Colombia, every Colombian is in equal standing. The military service should not only be for young people in the countryside or poor young people in general. Hence, we have said that the ideal solution is to have a more professional army. So that whoever enters can pursue a career in the military,” Zuluaga proposed.
Santos and Zuluaga will face each other in a second round of elections on June 15th. Clara López, who came in fourth in the first round, announced that she will lend her support to Santos. Gustavo Petro, the mayor of Bogotá, also announced his support for Santos this week. On the other hand, Marta Lucía Ramírez, who came in third place, has decided to back Zuluaga.
Source: CNN en Español.