Cuerpo de Fuerzas Especiales

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Cuerpo de Fuerzas Especiales de México
Escudo CFE 3D.png
Special Forces Corp 5th Battalion Shoulder Patch
Active 1986 – Present
Country Mexico
Branch Army
Type Special Forces
Size Division (1 Special Forces Brigade, 1 Amphibious SF Brigade)
Motto Cuerpo de Fuerzas Especiales de México, ni la muerte nos detiene, y si la muerte nos sorprende, bienvenida sea (English: Special Forces Airmobile Group, even death cannot stop us, and if death takes us by surprise, it's more than welcome.)
Engagements Mexican Drug War

The Mexican Cuerpo de Fuerzas Especiales/Special Forces Corps, commonly known as the Fuerzas Especiales/Special Forces or GAFEs ( by their former name Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales/Special-Forces Airmobile Group), is one of the elite special forces units of the Mexican Army, trained by several special forces around the world. There are a total of nine battalions, one High Command GAFE unit and one other group is assigned to the Paratroopers Rifle Brigade. Within the structure of the unit there are regular, intermediate and veteran troops. The regulars usually operate more as an elite light infantry. The intermediates are mainly instructors with medium ranks such as lieutenants and captains, but they are also known as the COIFEs, and are considered by many the Mexican equivalent to the US Army Special Forces. The veterans or Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales del Alto Mando (High Command GAFEs) carry out the most delicate Black-Ops. The GAFE motto is "Todo por México" (Everything for Mexico).


Official Cuerpo de Fuerzas Especiales green beret.

GAFE was created in 1986 as the "Fuerza de Intervención Rápida" (Rapid Intervention Force) to provide security for the FIFA World Cup soccer games in Mexico City. France's GIGN trained the group in special weapons and counter-terrorism tactics. On June 1, 1990 the group adopted its most known name, GAFE.

Eight years later the GAFEs saw action fighting EZLN guerrillas in Chiapas. There is scant public information about the operations in which they participated during that conflict. During the 1990s, the GAFE reportedly received training in commando and urban warfare from Israeli special forces and American Special Forces units, which included training in rapid deployment, marksmanship, ambushes, counter-surveillance and the art of intimidation.[1] It is also known that at some point several members were trained in the infamous US Army School of the americas,[2][3][4] in enhanced interrogation techniques and psychological warfare.[5]

Nowadays the army special forces continue fighting the war against drug cartels in Mexico. They have successfully captured many big drug leaders such as Benjamin Arellano Felix of the Tijuana Cartel, Carlos Rosales Mendoza of La Familia Cartel and Osiel Cardenas Guillen of the Gulf Cartel.


In 1994 the EZLN guerrilla seized several towns across the southern state of Chiapas. The Mexican government sent in "GAFEs" to put down the insurgens. Within hours, 30 rebels were killed and others were captured. Later their bodies were disposed on a riverbank – with their ears and noses sliced off.[6]

In the year 1999, about 34 GAFE defectors, were recruited to join the Gulf Cartel, serving as the cartel's armed wing, which became known as Los Zetas. This group also recruited national and foreign military personnel (like U.S. Army soldiers[7][8][9] and Guatemalan Kaibiles), corrupt police officers and street gang members, and used their knowledge of torture and psychological warfare to terrorize their rivals and innocent civilians alike.[10][11][12]

By 2011 only 10 of the original 34 zetas remained fugitives.[13] Most of them have been killed or captured by Mexican Army, Federal Police and the Special Forces Corps.[14][15][16][17][18][19][20]

It is alleged that on October 2, 2013 during a demonstration[21][22] by so called "anarchist youth groups"[23][24][25] to protest against the Mexican President[26][27] and to commemorate the 1968 tlatelolco student massacre,[28] undercover GAFEs worked as agent provocateurs[29] to disrupt the march and cause the riot police to crush it.[30]


Since its creation they have received a wide variety of training from different special forces groups from around the world (including the French GIGN, Israeli Sayeret and American Green Berets). The Army unified all the knowledge by creating in 1998 the Escuela Militar de Fuerzas Especiales (En. Special Forces Military School). This became the "Centro de Adiestramiento de Fuerzas Especiales" (Special Forces Training Center), located in the foothills of the Iztaccíhuatl volcano, on 1 May 2002. The basic special forces course lasts 6 months.

  • Special Forces Instructors' Officers Course (Curso de Oficiales Instructores de las Fuerzas Especiales – COIFE)
  • Ranks Officers Training of Special Forces (CACFE)
  • Specialized Training for Special Forces Instructors and Officers (Curso Avanzado de Instructores de Fuerzas Especiales – CAIFE)

Training scenarios[edit]






Precision Rifles[edit]

Hard targets[edit]


Machine guns[edit]

Grenade launchers[edit]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Grayson, George W. (2012). The Executioner's Men: Los Zetas, Rogue Soldiers, Criminal Entrepreneurs, and the Shadow State They Created (1st ed.), page 46, Transaction Publishers. ISBN 9781412846172
  2. ^
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  6. ^ Grillo 2012, p. 97.
  7. ^ "FBI — Former U.S. Army Officer Hitman Sentenced in Murder-for-Hire Plot". FBI. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Los carteles mexicanos reclutan a militares de EE.UU. como sicarios". RT en Español. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  10. ^ James Bargent. "US Report Shows Zetas Corruption of Guatemala's Special Forces". Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  11. ^ "US created monsters: Zetas and Kaibiles death squads". Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  12. ^ badanov. "Borderland Beat: Los Zetas recruit Las Maras in Guatemala". Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  13. ^ "El Universal - - Diez ms, prfugos: indagatorias". 23 June 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  14. ^ "WebCite query result". Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  15. ^ "Detienen a lugarteniente de Los Zetas". Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  16. ^ Milenio Digital. "Confirma Rubido muerte de 'El Z-9'". Milenio. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  17. ^ "El Universal - - Capturan a secuestradores en Puebla". 12 June 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  18. ^ "'El Lucky' dirigía operaciones de 'Los Zetas' en 10 entidades del país - Nacional - CNNMé". 13 December 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  19. ^ "La cacería de "El Lucky"". Proceso. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  20. ^ Rubén Mosso. "Dan 16 años de cárcel a ex líder de ‘Los Zetas’". Milenio. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
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