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BlackEagle/BlackEagle Logistics & Procurement Branch, Data Support Section
Results of Criminal Organizations Database Search: Macheteros
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Macheteros #CR0002506 (Also... Some alternate names are aliases, other are names for specific subgroups or cells). Machete Wielders Ejercito Popular de Boricua EPB Boricua Popular Army Popular Army of Boricua Source: CIA, MI-6 Type: Political terrorist organization. Scope: The Macheteros are a tightly organized and extremely violent Puerto Rican separatist group that has targeted primarily US military personnel and Puerto Rican police. Affiliations: Direct ties of the Macheteros to other groups operating in Latin America have not been established. There is apparent cooperation with another Puerto Rican separatist group called the Organization of Volunteers for the Puerto Rican Revolution [#CR0003591]. The two have made joint claims following some attacks. [MI-6] The Macheteros probably also have links to the Armed Forces of National Liberation [#CR0003879], a Puerto Rican separatist group that has conducted anti-US attacks for over three decades. [CIA] Personnel: Unknown, believed to be less than 40. [CIA] Operating Since: 1978 Structure: An organized group of scattered cells, numbering eight to ten operatives each. The group has tight internal security procedures and precisely executes its attacks. Leaders: Unknown. Legitimate Connections: None known. Resources: Smallarms, explosives and some military equipment. Good intelligence and support capabilities. Robberies and thefts evidently provide a major source of funds. The Macheteros also may receive donations from ideological backers. Suspected Criminal Activity: Since 1978, the group has carried out a few very competently executed terrorist actions that can be considered armed propaganda. On 3 December 1979, they ambushed and machine-gunned a bus carrying U.S. Navy personnel, killing 2 sailors and seriously wounding 10 others. On 12 March 1980, in a similar ambush of a bus the Macheteros wounded one of the three ROTC instructors aboard. On 16 May 1982, they machine- gunned four U.S. sailors leaving a San Juan nightclub, killing one and wounding the others. On 6 November 1985, they shot and seriously wounded a U.S. Army recruiting officer as he was riding his motor scooter to work. The most dramatic Machetero action was the sabotage of the Puerto Rican National Guard airfield at Muniz Air Base outside San Juan on 12 January 1981. Disguised in military uniforms 11 Macheteros penetrated the security fence and planted 21 bombs in 11 jet fighters, 8 of which were destroyed and 2 of which were damaged, causing in excess of $45 million in damages. The date selected was the birth anniversary of Eugenio Marea de Hostes, a Puerto Rican hero in the struggle for independence from Spain. The significance of the use of "eleven" in the number of men deployed and number of planes targeted was to express solidarity for 11 FALN members being tried for terrorist activities in the United States at that time. Similarly on 28 October 1986, they planted 10 bombs at military bases and facilities across the island, 3 of which exploded destroying 2 recruiting facilities. This action was undertaken to protest a supposed plan to train Nicaraguan contras in Puerto Rico. The group has also used rocket-propelled grenades in attacks on U.S. government office buildings in San Juan. On 16 September 1983, the Macheteros conducted an operation on the U.S. mainland, robbing the Wells Fargo armored truck terminal in Hartford, Conn., of $7.2 million. While bank robberies in Puerto Rico had been a primary source of funds for the group, the evidence provided by this holdup allowed the FBI to arrest several Macheteros leaders in Puerto Rico on 30 August 1985. In spite of this crackdown, the Macheteros were responsible for 9 of the 10 terrorist attacks occurring in Puerto Rico in 1986, although 7 of these attacks failed to achieve their objective. Additional Commentary: The "Machete Wielders," otherwise known as the Ejercito Popular de Boricua, is a Puerto Rican separatist group that considers itself engaged in a war of independence against the United States. It is not known to have any external state sponsorship nor any known contact with other Latin American leftist insurgent groups outside Puerto Rico, although they are supported by the small Marxist-Leninist Puerto Rican Socialist Party led by Jose Mari Bras, who is believed to be close to Fidel Castro. Within the Puerto Rican community, however, the Macheteros have shown some coordination with another separatist group, the Organization of Volunteers for the Puerto Rican Revolution, and have claimed to carry out certain terrorist actions to express solidarity with members of the Armed Forces of National Liberation group imprisoned in the United States. Although the Macheteros use Marxist-Leninist jargon, the essence of their program appears to reduce to nothing more than the demand for total independence for Puerto Rico. The Macheteros appear to be a relatively small but highly organized and carefully screened group that has eluded infiltration. It operates mainly within Puerto Rico, targeting primarily U.S. military facilities, U.S. military personnel, as well as the Puerto Rican police and operates mainly within Puerto Rico. The Macheteros appear to be fiercely dedicated to total Puerto Rican independence. Nothing short of that is likely to cause them to cease terrorist operations. The stated position of the group is that they have declared war on the United States. End Search