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BlackEagle/BlackEagle Logistics & Procurement Branch, Data Support Section
Results of Criminal Organizations Database Search: Cinchoneros Popular Liberation Front
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Cinchoneros Popular Liberation Front #CR0002270 (Also... Some alternate names are aliases, other are names for specific subgroups or cells). Mouimierto Popular de Liberacior' MPL Source: CIA, MI-6 Type: Political terrorist group/guerrilla insurgency Scope: Infrequent bombings, assassinations, hostage takings and bank robberies throughout Central American. Affiliations: The MPL has some sporadic involvement with the Salvadoran Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front [#CR0003040] which has reportedly provided some training and carried out joint kidnapings with the Cinchoneros inside Honduras. The Cinchoneros also are linked to the Sandinista government in Nicaragua and probably receive on-the- job training in jungle warfare against the rebels there. The Sandinistas [#CR0003198] use their close contact with the MPL to apply leverage against the Government of Honduras and to counter US policy initiatives in the region. [CIA] Personnel: Under 200 Operating Since: 1980 Structure: Military-style hierarchy. Militia units of twenty to thirty members, organized in protectorates, all falling under a single general command. [MI-6] Leaders: Leadership unknown. Legitimate Connections: None known, although the MPL apparently funds itself mainly by kidnapping businessmen and armed robbery. Resources: Smallarms, explosives and most forms of military equipment. Moderate level of funding. Good training and intelligence. [MI-6] Some Cuban and Nicaraguan support; the MPL is suspected of receiving training, arms, logistical support, and funds from Cuba. [CIA] Suspected Criminal Activity: Cinchonero terrorist activities have consisted mostly of bombings in San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa, and one hostage-taking incident. Honduran security forces arrested several key Cinchonero personalities in the first 7 months of 1984. One arrest uncovered several weapons, blocks of TNT, detonators, and subversive literature. On 24 March 1980, five Cinchoneros hijacked a Honduran Airlines 737 to Managua, Nicaragua, in order to force the release of 15 Salvadoran leftists imprisoned in Honduras. The hijacked plane was flown to Panama before the captive passengers and crew were finally released. On 17 September 1982, they took 105 hostages at an economic conference at the Chamber of Commerce in San Pedro Sula, killing one guard and wounding two businessmen in the takeover. When their demands for the release of imprisoned comrades were not met, they traded the hostages for safe passage to Cuba. From August 1983 to March 1985, the group bombed U.S., Honduran, and Costa Rican business and airline offices in retaliation for these countries' military cooperation against the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua. On 17 July 1988, the group claimed credit for an attack in San Pedro Sula in which some U.S. servicemen were wounded. On 25 January 1989, the group killed the former head of the Honduran army, General Gustavo lvarez Martinez. Additional Commentary: The Cinchoneros Popular Liberation Movement (MPL) is a state-sponsored revolutionary group seeking to overthrow the Honduran government and to oppose U.S. interests in the region. Its own ideology represents an eclectic blend of Marxist-Leninist and populist notions. The MPL is the armed wing of the People's Revolutionary Union, a splinter group of the Honduran Communist Party that appeared in 1980. The name "Cinchoneros" is derived from the nickname of Serapio "Cinchonero" Romero, a Honduran peasant leader supposedly executed in the late 1800s for refusing to pay tax to the Roman Catholic Church. The group was one of the two most active Honduran terrorist organizations in the early 1980s, the other being the Lorenzo Zelaya Popular Revolutionary Forces [#CR]. The group currently appears to be rebuilding and has exploded some propaganda bombs in the capital to revive public awareness of its existence. From late 1984 onward the group appeared to withdraw into a period of reorganization.