Ascending in the U.S. military is more difficult for Latinos. (Thinkstock images)
Ascending in the U.S. military is more difficult for Latinos. (Thinkstock images)

For Latinos in the military, promotion is 'almost' impossible

A study has shown that the Hispanic community in the United States is less likely to scale professionally in the military, despite being one of the…


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Much has been said in recent months about the experience, in general, of Hispanic and Latino veterans of the U.S. military.

What few know is that there is a demonstrated tendency in this career in which it is difficult to ascend the ladder of ranks.

The Hispanic veteran organization Casaba published figures showing that between 1995 and 2016 "only one Latino had become a three-star general, even as the number of active-duty Hispanic officers more than doubled - from 6,117 to 15,033 - during that period," The Hill reported.

According to the report, "17% of active-duty enlisted service members are Hispanic, on par with the 17.5% of the general U.S. population that is Hispanic.”

According to official Pentagon data, of the 37 highest-ranking officers in the military (with four stars in the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy Admirals) "32 are white men, two are white women, two are men and one is an Asian-American man," explained the platform Mercado Militar.

"The next highest rank - three general stars and vice admirals - is a bit more diverse," explains the media outlet. "Of 144 officers, 115 are white men and seven are white women; 13 are black men and three are black women."

For Edward Cabrera, the president of Casaba, the factors for this disparity are very diverse, but the reality is that "the trends are going the wrong way".

In conversation with The Hill, Cabrera, who is a former Air Force test pilot, explained that "the military tracks minority enlistments and promotions, but it bundles all minorities together in tallying its diversity."

"That's why we lost sight of what was happening with Latinos," he explained. "Generally, you see a lot of good news… that's only true for African-Americans and females, absolutely not true for Latinos."

However, for the former pilot, the issue is "systemic and structural" and has nothing to do with racism.

"There is not any kind of agenda or any kind of cultural bias per se," said Cabrera.

"When you have a good representation in the upper ranks, it helps to promote the younger generations from the group," he said. "Human nature comes into play. Generally speaking, people will pick people like themselves to replace them or to get promoted."

The study also evaluates professional positions within Department of Defense agencies, including the Pentagon and, according to Cabrera, "the army has been slow to respond when confronted with the issue."

During 2016, the Hispanic Caucus of Congress appealed to President Barack Obama through a letter requesting that the matter be directly assessed.

As The Hill explained, the statement cited 2014 figures that are "virtually identical to current numbers."

The trend now stands at a time when the government insists on putting obstacles in front of Hispanic immigrants within federal agencies, and in which veterans are being stripped of deserved rights for their service to the nation, and in a country where representation of the Hispanic community in Congress remains at 8.4 percent despite the 17.5 percent represented in the general population.


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