Cuerpo de Fuerzas Especiales

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Cuerpo de Fuerzas Especiales de México
Escudo del Cuerpo de Fuerzas Especiales del Ejército Mexicano.svg
Special Forces Corp 5th Battalion Shoulder Patch
Active1986 – present
TypeSpecial Forces
SizeDivision (2 Special Forces Brigades, 1 Amphibious SF Brigade)
(plus 56 independent battalions)
Motto(s)Cuerpo de Fuerzas Especiales de México, ni la muerte nos detiene, y si la muerte nos sorprende, bienvenida sea (English: Special Forces Corps, even death cannot stop us, and if death takes us by surprise, it's more than welcome.)
EngagementsMexican Drug War

The Mexican Cuerpo de Fuerzas Especiales (Special Forces Corps) is a special forces unit of the Mexican Army. Formerly the GAFE (Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales | Special-Forces Airmobile Group), the SF Corps has six battalions; one is the Fuerza especial de reaccion, a quick-response unit, and one is assigned to the Paratroopers Rifle Brigade; the motto of the SF Corps is Todo por México (Everything for Mexico). Within the SF Corps, there are regular, intermediate, and veteran -service troops. The regular-service soldiers usually operate as light infantry. The intermediate-service soldiers (lieutenants and captains) usually are instructors. The veteran-service soldiers of the Fuerzas Especiales del Alto Mando (FEs High Command) handle Black-Ops missions. Also known as the COIFE, the Special Forces Corps of the Mexican Army is equivalent to the U.S. Army Special Forces.


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, becoming a Corps (with division-sized formation) in 2013 as part of the expansion of the Army. It again changed its name from GAFE to Special Forces Corps in 2004.[1]

Eight years later (in 1994) 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.[2] It is also known that at some point several members were trained in the infamous US Army School of the americas,[3][4][5] in enhanced interrogation techniques and psychological warfare (Psy-Ops).[6]

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 insurgents. 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.[7]

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[8][9][10] 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.[11][12][13]

By 2011 only 10 of the original 34 zetas remained fugitives.[14] Most of them have been killed or captured by Mexican Army, Federal Police and the Special Forces Corps.[15][16][17][18][19][20][21]

It is alleged that on October 2, 2013 during a demonstration[22][23] by so-called "anarchist youth groups"[24][25][26] to protest against the Mexican President[27][28] and to commemorate the 1968 tlatelolco student massacre,[29] undercover GAFEs worked as agent provocateurs[30] to disrupt the march and cause the riot police to crush it.[31]


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]


The CFE proper, reporting to the SEDENA in Mexico City, is headquartered in Temamatla, Mexico and is divided into:

  • 1st SF Brigade
    • 1st SF Battalion
    • 2nd SF Battalion
    • 3rd SF Battalion
  • 2nd SF Brigade
    • 4th SF Battalion
    • 5th SF Battalion
    • 9th SF Battalion
    • Rapid Response Battalion
  • 3rd SF Brigade
    • 6th SF Battalion
    • 7th SF Battalion
    • 8th SF Battalion
  • plus 73 independent SF battalions nationwide






Precision Rifles[edit]

Anti-materiel / Hard targets[edit]


Machine guns[edit]

Grenade launchers[edit]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ TV, UNIÓN CANCÚN, Redes de Información y Educación del Siglo XXI de EL UNIVERSAL y UNO (8 December 2018). "Fuerzas Especiales, 'a la baja' en gobierno de Peña Nieto".
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ "US created monsters: Zetas and Kaibiles death squads - the narcosphere". narcosphere.narconews.com.
  4. ^ Udu-gama, Nico. "U.S.-trained ex-soldiers form core of "Zetas" - SOA Watch: Close the School of the Americas". www.soaw.org.
  5. ^ "Los Zetas fueron entrenados por la Escuela de las Américas". www.cronica.com.mx.
  6. ^ Paterson, Thomas; Clifford, J. Garry; Brigham, Robert; Donoghue, Michael; Hagan, Kenneth (1 January 2014). "American Foreign Relations: Volume 2: Since 1895". Cengage Learning – via Google Books.
  7. ^ Grillo 2012, p. 97.
  8. ^ "FBI — Former U.S. Army Officer Hitman Sentenced in Murder-for-Hire Plot". FBI. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  9. ^ C.V., DEMOS, Desarrollo de Medios, S.A. de. "La Jornada: Cárteles mexicanos contratan soldados de EU como sicarios y capacitadores".
  10. ^ "Los carteles mexicanos reclutan a militares de EE.UU. como sicarios". RT en Español. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  11. ^ James Bargent. "US Report Shows Zetas Corruption of Guatemala's Special Forces". Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  12. ^ "US created monsters: Zetas and Kaibiles death squads". Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  13. ^ badanov. "Borderland Beat: Los Zetas recruit Las Maras in Guatemala". Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  14. ^ "El Universal - - Diez ms, prfugos: indagatorias". 23 June 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  15. ^ "WebCite query result". Archived from the original on 9 October 2012. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  16. ^ "Detienen a lugarteniente de Los Zetas". Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  17. ^ Milenio Digital. "Confirma Rubido muerte de 'El Z-9'". Milenio. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  18. ^ "El Universal - - Capturan a secuestradores en Puebla". 12 June 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  19. ^ "'El Lucky' dirigía operaciones de 'Los Zetas' en 10 entidades del país - Nacional - CNNMéxico.com". 13 December 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  20. ^ "La cacería de "El Lucky"". Proceso. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  21. ^ Rubén Mosso. "Dan 16 años de cárcel a ex líder de 'Los Zetas'". Milenio. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  22. ^ "Anarquistas y granaderos se enfrentan durante marcha del 2 de octubre". 2 October 2013.
  23. ^ "MINUTO A MINUTO: Marcha conmemorativa del 2 de octubre". 2 October 2013.
  24. ^ "Anarquistas en México: "Es momento para la radicalización"". 12 February 2015.
  25. ^ "Fotos: Anarquistas desatan, otra vez, violencia en el DF - Aristegui Noticias". aristeguinoticias.com.
  26. ^ "Marcha del 2 de octubre: la violencia va al alza (crónica y videos) - Animal Político". www.animalpolitico.com.
  27. ^ "En las redes sociales el 2 de octubre tampoco se olvidó - Proceso". 2 October 2013.
  28. ^ "'Anarquistas' dan lista de detenidos durante marcha del 2 de octubre". 3 October 2013.
  29. ^ C.V., DEMOS, Desarrollo de Medios, S.A. de. "La Jornada: A 45 años del 2 de octubre, añejas demandas y violencia".
  30. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 4 November 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  31. ^ "8 videos de enfrentamientos en la marcha del 2 de octubre - Aristegui Noticias". aristeguinoticias.com.