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
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 Cuerpo de Fuerzas Especiales de México/Mexican Special Forces Corps ( formerly Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales (GAFE), Spanish for Special Forces Airmobile Group) or more commonly known as Fuerzas Especiales/Special Forces is an elite special forces unit of the Mexican Army's Special Forces Corps, 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, intermediates and veterans. The regulars usually operate more as an elite light infantry. The intermediates are mainly instructors with medium ranks such as lieutenants and captains; 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 1 June 1990 the group adopted its current name.

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]

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.

The Zetas controversy[edit]

In the year 1999, about 34 GAFE defectors, were recruited by Arturo Guzmán Decena to join the Gulf Cartel, serving as the cartel's armed wing, which became known as Los Zetas. When cartel leader Osiel Cárdenas was arrested, Los Zetas split away from the Gulf Cartel, and became one of the most notorious cartels in Mexico, continuing to recruit national and foreign military personnel (like U.S. Army soldiers[2][3][4] and Guatemalan Kaibiles), police officers and street gang members, using their knowledge of torture and psychological warfare to terrorize rival cartels and innocent civilians alike.[5][6][7]

By 2011 only 10 of the original 34 zetas remained fugitives.[8] And to this day most of them have either been killed or captured by the Mexican law enforcement and military forces.[9][10][11][12][13][14][15]


Since its creation they have received a wide variety of training from different special forces groups from around the world. 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]



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. ^ "FBI — Former U.S. Army Officer Hitman Sentenced in Murder-for-Hire Plot". FBI. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Los carteles mexicanos reclutan a militares de EE.UU. como sicarios". RT en Español. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  5. ^ James Bargent. "US Report Shows Zetas Corruption of Guatemala's Special Forces". Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  6. ^ "US created monsters: Zetas and Kaibiles death squads". Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  7. ^ badanov. "Borderland Beat: Los Zetas recruit Las Maras in Guatemala". Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  8. ^ "El Universal - - Diez ms, prfugos: indagatorias". 23 June 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  9. ^ "WebCite query result". Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  10. ^ "Detienen a lugarteniente de Los Zetas". Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  11. ^ Milenio Digital. "Confirma Rubido muerte de 'El Z-9'". Milenio. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  12. ^ "El Universal - - Capturan a secuestradores en Puebla". 12 June 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  13. ^ "'El Lucky' dirigía operaciones de 'Los Zetas' en 10 entidades del país - Nacional - CNNMé". 13 December 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  14. ^ "La cacería de "El Lucky"". Proceso. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  15. ^ Rubén Mosso. "Dan 16 años de cárcel a ex líder de ‘Los Zetas’". Milenio. Retrieved 26 December 2014.