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|Cuerpo de Fuerzas Especiales de México|
Special Forces Corp 5th Battalion Shoulder Patch
|Active||1986 – present|
Division (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.)|
|Engagements||Mexican 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.
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.
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. It is also known that at some point several members were trained in the infamous US Army School of the americas, in enhanced interrogation techniques and psychological warfare (Psy-Ops).
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.
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 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.
It is alleged that on October 2, 2013 during a demonstration by so-called "anarchist youth groups" to protest against the Mexican President and to commemorate the 1968 tlatelolco student massacre, undercover GAFEs worked as agent provocateurs to disrupt the march and cause the riot police to crush it.
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.
The CFE proper, reporting to the SEDENA in Mexico City, is headquartered in Temamatla, Mexico and is divided into: