From Vietnam to El Salvador: The Saga of the FMLN Sappers and Other Guerrilla Special Forces in Latin America

By David E. Spencer | Go to book overview

known. What is clear is that throughout Mexico there was much sympathy for the Salvadoran guerrillas.

The official tolerance of the Mexican government toward the Salvadoran FMLN may have backfired on it, as Salvadoran guerrillas may have provided training and other aid during the years they operated in Mexico to the guerrillas of the Mexican EZLN. This may have included the teaching of FES techniques, and should the guerrilla war heat up in Mexico again, it would not be at all surprising if a number of operations employing FES techniques were attempted.

The spread of the techniques and tactics of the Latin American guerrilla special forces may not be limited only to the American continent. For reasons of scope and space, this book will not go into detail about other parts of the world. However, suffice it to say that recent operations by the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka bear a strong resemblance to Salvadoran FES attacks. Actions in Somalia against the United States and the United Nations were also based on Latin American guerrilla techniques. Warfare is an evolutionary profession. Successful warriors economize their resources by keeping up with and learning from past and present conflicts. Because of this, it should not be surprising that guerrilla and low-technology forces around the world would employ tactics that proved successful in El Salvador and elsewhere in Latin America.

In the United States and the West we often look down on these primitive methods because we have a tendency to rely on our superior technology. In Vietnam, El Salvador and elsewhere, this has often proved a fatal and costly mistake.


NOTES
1.
Che Guevara, Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War ( New York: MR Press, 1968), pp. 252-253.
2.
The source for most of the accounts of the suicide platoon is Paco Ignacio Taibo II , La Batalla del Cbe ( Mexico: Editorial Planeta, 1989).
3.
Eugenio Mendez, Confesiones de un Montonero ( Buenos Aires: Editorial Sudamericana Planeta, 1985), p. 116.
5.
Richard Gillespie, Soldados de Peron ( Buenos Aires: Grijalbo, 1987), pp. 241-242.
6.
Gene Scroft, "Battle Zone Bocay," Soldier of Fortune ( September 1987), p. 67.
7.
Lawrence Brown, "Special Operations in the Falklands War," Special Forces ( August 1988), pp. 40-43, 62.
8.
Luis Mattini, Hombres y Mujeres del PRT-ERP ( Buenos Aires: Editorial Contrapunto, 1990), pp. 450-461.

-144-

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