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Advanced Search Search Tips Title El Salvador: Centro de Entrenamiento Militar de la Fuerza Armada (CEMFA), Military
Training Center of the Armed Forces
Regions
Publisher United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services
Country El Salvador
Publication Date 28 June 2000
Citation / SLV00004.ZAR
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Africa Cite as United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, El Salvador: Centro de
Entrenamiento Militar de la Fuerza Armada (CEMFA), Military Training Center of
Americas
the Armed Forces, 28 June 2000, SLV00004.ZAR, available at:
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Country Information El Salvador: Centro de Entrenamiento Militar de la Fuerza Armada
Legal Information (CEMFA), Military Training Center of the Armed Forces
Policy Documents
Reference Documents Query:

Browse by What is known about the Centro de Entrenamiento Militar de la Fuerza Armada (CEMFA),
A-Z Index Military Training Center of the Armed Forces, and is it possible that suspected FMLN
Topics sympathizers captured by soldiers from CEMFA would have been released to the FMLN guerrillas
if in fact they were found to be FMLN supporters?
Publishers
Document Types
Response:
Resources
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The Centro de Entrenamiento Militar de la Fuerza Armada (CEMFA), Military Training Center of
the Armed Forces, was opened in January 1984 near the city of La Unión, the capital of La
Standards and Training Unión, the easternmost department of El Salvador (Associated Press 11 Oct. 1985). According
Information Alerts to Jane's International Defense Review, the exact location of the CEMFA was a place called
Protection Starter Kit Punta Ruca (Jane's Information Group Limited 1 Sep. 1991).
Library
The facility, built under the supervision of U.S. military advisors, became the Salvadoran
News
military's principal basic-training base after the Honduran government halted the training of
Refworld Personalization Salvadorans at the Regional Military Training Center in Honduras (Facts on File 18 Oct. 1985;
External Links Latin American Newsletters, 25 Oct. 1985). The center, with barracks capable of housing up to
2,000 military trainees and one hundred instructors, remained operational throughout the war
and also was the base for a 250-member security battalion (Associated Press 11 Oct. 1985;
Jane's Information Group Limited 1 Sep. 1991; Facts on File 18 Oct. 1985).

An estimated 350 FMLN guerrillas attacked the CEMFA on 10 October 1985, one of the largest
FMLN assaults of that year which left 40 Salvadoran soldiers dead, according to Salvadoran
officials (Washington Post 12 Oct. 1985; Associated Press, 11 Oct. 1985). The FMLN stated that
a principal aim was to capture or kill U.S. personnel, but Salvadoran officials, while noting that
there might have been up to 12 U.S. military trainers at the base during the attack, said that
they had not taken part in the fighting. The U.S. Embassy in San Salvador put the number of
U.S. trainers at five (Associated Press 11 Oct. 1985; Facts on File 18 Oct. 1985).

The commander of CEMFA at the time of the October 1985 attack was Lt. Col. Joaquin Cerna
Flores (Associated Press 11 Oct. 1985; Facts on File, 18 Oct. 1985). According to the El Rescate

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UNHCR | Refworld | El Salvador: Centro de Entrenamiento Militar de la Fuerza Armada ... Page 2 of 2

database, the commander of the CEMFA from August 1986 until December 1989 was Carlos
Alfredo Rivas Najarro. He is probably the same Col. Carlos Alfredo Rivas who was known as a
hard-line officer and confidante of Maj. Roberto D'Aubuisson, the late leader of the
conservative ARENA party and founder of a number of right-wing death squads (Doggett 1993,
210).

Regarding the question of the fate of suspected FMLN supporters captured by soldiers stationed
at the CEMFA, it should be noted that the El Rescate database on human rights violations
during the El Salvadoran conflict lists only five rights violation attributed to units of the CEMFA,
three captures recorded during the period 1985-1986 and two extrajudicial killings during the
period 1986-1987. Although the El Rescate database is not comprehensive, the generally low
number would be in line with CEMFA being principally a basic training facility.

Nonetheless, the security battalion stationed at CEMFA would likely have sent out patrols or
other missions in search of FMLN guerrillas or supporters, more so after the surprise guerrilla
attack in October 1985. As noted above, three captures by CEMFA were cited in the El Rescate
database from late 1985 through early 1986. Of these, El Rescate reported that one captive
was extrajudicially executed by CEMFA. Amnesty International reported that, in general,
anyone captured by the military or security forces remained at great risk of being abused and
tortured during interrogation and, in some cases killed, even in the late 1980s when rights
violations, especially killings, by the military and security forces diminished significantly
(Amnesty International, 1989; Amnesty International, 1990).

The RIC was unable to find documentation that specifically addressed the possible release of
captured FMLN sympathizers or supporters to the guerrillas.

This response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently
available to the RIC within time constraints. This response is not, and does not purport to be,
conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.

References

Amnesty International. Amnesty International Report 1989. "El Salvador" (London: AI, 1989).

Amnesty International. Amnesty International Report 1990. "El Salvador" (London: AI, 1981).

Associated Press. Frazier, Joseph B. "Dozens of Soldiers Die As Rebels Attack Military Training
Center" (La Unión, El Salvador: 11 October 1985).

Doggett, Martha. Death Foretold: The Jesuit Murders in El Salvador (Washington D.C.: Lawyers
Committee for Human Rights and Georgetown University Press, 1993).

Facts on File. World News; El Salvador. "Rebels Raid Army Base, Kill 40 Soldiers" (18 October
1985), p. 784 E1.

Latin American Newsletters. Latin America Regional Reports: Mexico and Central America. "El
Salvador/Casualties" (25 October 1985), p. 8.

Jane's Information Group Limited. International Defense Review. "Zonal Defense" (1 September
1991), Vol. 24, No. 9, p. 916.

Washington Post. Cody, Edward. "Salvadoran Rebels Target U.S. Advisers" (San Salvador: 11
October 1985).

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