PORTUGAL – After the devastating fires of 2017, in which more than 115 people died, the Portuguese Government decided to make a thorough revision of its forestry management strategy. Among other measures, the Executive of António Costa decided to expand the number of active forest guards, and to this end in February of this year the Ministry of Internal Administration gave the green light to the opening of 200 places.
While the announcement of the call was held, it was accompanied by a great controversy to discover that it included a list that vetoed candidates for numerous medical conditions, including being HIV positive or being pregnant at the time of choosing the position. Given the wave of criticism, on Friday the Ministry announced that the call had been revised and that the veto for people with HIV and pregnant women had been suppressed.
However, in the text that explains the process to qualify for the positions it is clear that those who want to be candidates will still have to overcome a host of equally arbitrary impediments to access the position of forest guard. In addition to being between 18 and 27 years old and measuring more than 1’60, those who opt for the position must be Portuguese citizens and can not have accepted the status of conscientious objector – the fundamental right that allows civil service to be carried out when one opposes, for religious or moral reasons, military service.
Even if they pass the written exam – in which the knowledge of the Portuguese language, general culture and current Portuguese are put to the test -, the physical and psychological evaluation, the candidates for the position of forest guard can be rejected if they have any type of medical “inability”.
According to the list included in the call published in the Diario de la República, people who have had tuberculosis in the last two years are banned, as well as those who have had syphilis or hepatitis at any time. Neither accept people who have any type of malignant tumor, and those with benign tumors in sites “that can create a bad appearance.” Being anemic or having diabetes is a reason for rejection, as is having hemorrhoids or being a stutterer.
People with visible deformities, scars, skin with altered pigmentation, tattoos or those that have become bald due to alopecia are prohibited. If you have acne or sequelae of traumatic injuries or unattractive burns, you are also out, and those who have untreated dental cavities are rejected on four teeth, or less than 20 natural teeth.
The arbitrariness of the requirements has surprised many, since they seem absurdly exhaustive for a post whose initial remuneration is only 841 euros per month. Despite this, today more than 2,500 Lusos have submitted nominations for the places, which are spread throughout the mainland of Portugal.