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For other uses, see Federale.

Federales is a Spanglish word used to denote certain organizations from Latin countries. The term gained widespread usage by English-speakers due to popularization in such films as The Wild Bunch, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and Blue Streak. The singular "Federale" is in fact incorrect, since the Spanish language uses "es" to pluralize nouns ending in a consonant; therefore, the correct singular form is "Federal" (with stress on the last syllable, unlike the English adjective), though this term is ambiguous in written English. The term is a cognate and counterpart to the slang "Feds" in the United States.

Law enforcement[edit]

Vehicles of the Policía Federal in a parade in Tepic

A short term traditionally used for certain Mexican federal police agencies such as:

The Mexican Federal Police, and any of its predecessors

  • Federal Preventive Police/Policía Federal Preventiva,
  • Federal Highway Police/Policía Federal de Caminos, and
  • Federal Fiscal Police/Policía Fiscal Federal.

The Federal Ministerial Police/Policía Federal Ministerial (PFM) and any of its predecessors:


Federales of the Mexican regular army during the Huerta period

Historically, "Federales" was also the common term used for the Mexican regular or Federal Army, especially during the 34-year rule of Porfirio Díaz until 1911. In part the expression served the purpose of distinguishing centrally controlled military units from provincial militias or rural mounted police (rurales). Following Díaz's overthrow by rebel forces led by Francisco Madero, the Federal Army remained in existence. The Federales were eventually disbanded in July and August 1914, after Madero's successor Victoriano Huerta was in turn defeated by an alliance of revolutionary forces.[1]


  1. ^ P. Jowett, pages 32–41 The Mexican Revolution 1910–1920, ISBN 1-84176-989-4

See also[edit]