Guatemalan Army Welcomes Women to Military Reserves Training

Guatemalan Army Welcomes Women to Military Reserves Training

By Dialogo
February 16, 2015




The Guatemalan Army welcomed more than 50 women to the 2015 training cycle for the Military Reserves, which kicked off in January with events at Constitution Square in the capital, as well as the central parks of the country's 22 departments.

“Guatemala, I’m here,” was the slogan chanted across the Central American nation by the young men and women who registered for the special military training that would lead to becoming members of the volunteer Army Reserves. The young Reservists join during a crucial time, since their country is facing increased security risks due to the prevalence of organized crime.

Infantry Colonel Enrique Juchuña Cumez, commander of the country's Military Reserves, told journalists that about 2,300 young people signed up for this year’s class, including more than 50 women. They will be trained in humanitarian aid, disaster mitigation, civil defense, disarming criminals, map reading and knowledge, human rights, and first aid, he said.

The training, which lasts through November, follows a standardized syllabus. The reservists will undertake Military training along with training in the formation of the nation's laws, Col. Juchuña explained.

The Reservists are divided into 22 command centers with headquarters in the capital of each department. They will receive their training at the squad level, which is comprised of 10 Reserve Soldiers, and at the detachment level, which includes 30 to 40 Reservists.

Diversity in the Military Reserves


In October, as he visited the Mariscal Zavala Military base in the capital, Col. Juchuña praised the Reservists, who come from all walks of life.

“There is a diversity of people who form the Military Reserves. There are some who have not had ... the opportunity to graduate from school, and there are professionals,” he said.

While the age to join the Military Reserves is between 18 and 29, the officer highlighted the fact that 61-year-old Corporal Feliciano Carrillo attends training every Sunday.

Reservists are not full-time members of the Military. They include professionals, such as doctors and lawyers, college students, and blue-collar workers, such as plumbers and carpenters. Because they are part of the community, reserve Soldiers help build a rapport between the Military and the civilian population.

Equalty for women in the Military


The Guatemalan Army is doing significant outreach to attract women to the Reserves and active service. The Army is considered to offer good professional opportunities for Guatemalan women, with more room for advancement than other fields.

“In a country with limited spaces for women's involvement, the Army is promoting and creating these spaces for participation,” said retired Army Colonel Mario Mérida. “The female graduates of the Civil Military Institutes Adolfo V. Hall are very successful in universities around the country, while those who graduate from the Polytechnic School are looking forward to a 30-year professional career.”

The inclusion of women in the Guatemalan Armed Forces was the central message of last year’s commemoration of Army Day and the Anniversary of the 1871 Revolution on June 30. At the time, the Defense Ministry also announced the implementation of a section for coordination and collaboration with the Specific Cabinet for Women, headed by Vice President Roxana Baldetti.

“We have had a process of maturity that has allowed for the inclusion of women,” said Defense Minister Manuel López Ambrocio, at the celebration. “They salute Guatemala saying, 'I’m here.' They are of vital importance to the Army."

For Col. Mérida, the inclusion of women in the Armed Forces has been positive since the Army began promoting it in 1972. That year, the Army obtained the first scholarships for Guatemalan women in Mexican Army's nursing school.

While 1980 marked the official inclusion of women in the Military Reserves, 1997 was an important year for Guatemalan women in the Armed Forces.

“Women were admitted for the first time to the Adolfo V. Hall institutes, where they graduate as Reserve Second Lieutenant in the Infantry and bachelors in Arts and Sciences, and they also could attend the Polytechnic School,” Col. Mérida said.

Currently, more than 600 women with official rank in the Army are working as field officers, in administration, in peacekeeping operations for the United Nations, and in other posts, Col. Mérida said.

Opportunities for advancement


In 2014, a woman earned the rank of First Sergeant, the highest in the Military Reserves, proving that women have opportunities for advancement within the Military, according to Col. Merida.

“The Guatemalan society needs to break with some paradigms that assume women have limited possibilities of advancement in the Armed Forces due to their role as mothers, and considering the benefits that derive from women gaining more independence as they become professionals,” he said.

The Military Reserves command unit has been helping protect the civilian population since it was created by a presidential decree on September 10, 1954. Women joined the ranks of Military Reservists in 1976.

The Headquarters Command of the Military Reserves is responsible for providing trained reserve soldiers to support regular Army units responding to emergency situations, such as natural disasters, and to help in military operations if needed. When they are mobilized, Reserve Soldiers are sent to rendezvous centers located throughout the country to coordinate with Army units.

In addition, Reserve Soldiers are trained to work in Public Security units, and serve on United Nations peacekeeping missions.

Overall, the Guatemalan Armed Forces includes 22,000 Soldiers; 2,000 Military police agents; 900 Sailors; and 750 Air Force members.



The Guatemalan Army welcomed more than 50 women to the 2015 training cycle for the Military Reserves, which kicked off in January with events at Constitution Square in the capital, as well as the central parks of the country's 22 departments.

“Guatemala, I’m here,” was the slogan chanted across the Central American nation by the young men and women who registered for the special military training that would lead to becoming members of the volunteer Army Reserves. The young Reservists join during a crucial time, since their country is facing increased security risks due to the prevalence of organized crime.

Infantry Colonel Enrique Juchuña Cumez, commander of the country's Military Reserves, told journalists that about 2,300 young people signed up for this year’s class, including more than 50 women. They will be trained in humanitarian aid, disaster mitigation, civil defense, disarming criminals, map reading and knowledge, human rights, and first aid, he said.

The training, which lasts through November, follows a standardized syllabus. The reservists will undertake Military training along with training in the formation of the nation's laws, Col. Juchuña explained.

The Reservists are divided into 22 command centers with headquarters in the capital of each department. They will receive their training at the squad level, which is comprised of 10 Reserve Soldiers, and at the detachment level, which includes 30 to 40 Reservists.

Diversity in the Military Reserves


In October, as he visited the Mariscal Zavala Military base in the capital, Col. Juchuña praised the Reservists, who come from all walks of life.

“There is a diversity of people who form the Military Reserves. There are some who have not had ... the opportunity to graduate from school, and there are professionals,” he said.

While the age to join the Military Reserves is between 18 and 29, the officer highlighted the fact that 61-year-old Corporal Feliciano Carrillo attends training every Sunday.

Reservists are not full-time members of the Military. They include professionals, such as doctors and lawyers, college students, and blue-collar workers, such as plumbers and carpenters. Because they are part of the community, reserve Soldiers help build a rapport between the Military and the civilian population.

Equalty for women in the Military


The Guatemalan Army is doing significant outreach to attract women to the Reserves and active service. The Army is considered to offer good professional opportunities for Guatemalan women, with more room for advancement than other fields.

“In a country with limited spaces for women's involvement, the Army is promoting and creating these spaces for participation,” said retired Army Colonel Mario Mérida. “The female graduates of the Civil Military Institutes Adolfo V. Hall are very successful in universities around the country, while those who graduate from the Polytechnic School are looking forward to a 30-year professional career.”

The inclusion of women in the Guatemalan Armed Forces was the central message of last year’s commemoration of Army Day and the Anniversary of the 1871 Revolution on June 30. At the time, the Defense Ministry also announced the implementation of a section for coordination and collaboration with the Specific Cabinet for Women, headed by Vice President Roxana Baldetti.

“We have had a process of maturity that has allowed for the inclusion of women,” said Defense Minister Manuel López Ambrocio, at the celebration. “They salute Guatemala saying, 'I’m here.' They are of vital importance to the Army."

For Col. Mérida, the inclusion of women in the Armed Forces has been positive since the Army began promoting it in 1972. That year, the Army obtained the first scholarships for Guatemalan women in Mexican Army's nursing school.

While 1980 marked the official inclusion of women in the Military Reserves, 1997 was an important year for Guatemalan women in the Armed Forces.

“Women were admitted for the first time to the Adolfo V. Hall institutes, where they graduate as Reserve Second Lieutenant in the Infantry and bachelors in Arts and Sciences, and they also could attend the Polytechnic School,” Col. Mérida said.

Currently, more than 600 women with official rank in the Army are working as field officers, in administration, in peacekeeping operations for the United Nations, and in other posts, Col. Mérida said.

Opportunities for advancement


In 2014, a woman earned the rank of First Sergeant, the highest in the Military Reserves, proving that women have opportunities for advancement within the Military, according to Col. Merida.

“The Guatemalan society needs to break with some paradigms that assume women have limited possibilities of advancement in the Armed Forces due to their role as mothers, and considering the benefits that derive from women gaining more independence as they become professionals,” he said.

The Military Reserves command unit has been helping protect the civilian population since it was created by a presidential decree on September 10, 1954. Women joined the ranks of Military Reservists in 1976.

The Headquarters Command of the Military Reserves is responsible for providing trained reserve soldiers to support regular Army units responding to emergency situations, such as natural disasters, and to help in military operations if needed. When they are mobilized, Reserve Soldiers are sent to rendezvous centers located throughout the country to coordinate with Army units.

In addition, Reserve Soldiers are trained to work in Public Security units, and serve on United Nations peacekeeping missions.

Overall, the Guatemalan Armed Forces includes 22,000 Soldiers; 2,000 Military police agents; 900 Sailors; and 750 Air Force members.
On what date does the 2015 military reserves start here in Retalhuleu?
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