The Guatemalan Special forces, the Kaibiles, are infamous for forcing recruits to raise a puppy, bonding with it and then killing and eating it.
They specialize in jungle warfare tactics and counter-insurgency operations. Since 1974, more than 1,250 soldiers have graduated from the international training programme, which has a duration of eight weeks.
According to the Ministry of Defense, the Kaibil Centre’s mission is to train and develop elite commando forces: "To select, by means of arduous, difficult training under physical and mental pressure, members of the army capable of engaging in commando operations."
The training is given twice a year and lasts 60 days.
Only 64 participants are allowed per training period, not older than 28 years of age.
No more than 10 have graduated on a single period.
The commandos are trained in guerrilla warfare, counter-guerrilla operations, military behaviour, map reading, psychological preparation, military intelligence and counter-intelligence.
Their training includes a special hand-to-hand combat system known as Temv-K’a (which means “Hands of Storm”), communications, survival techniques, obstacle courses, military hiking, special weapons, demolitions and emergency medical training.
This includes aerial operations, day and night navigation, camp setup and security, evasion, escape, interventions and ambushes.
Training is extremely physically and mentally demanding, and takes place during both daytime and nighttime.
Sleep is permitted for no longer than three hours a day, but only if the right is earned.
The right to eat must also be earned; before being allowed to eat, soldiers must successfully climb a rope, do five pull-ups, ten push-ups and run two miles in 18 minutes or less wearing full combat gear, then duck walk to the mess hall, after which they are given 30 seconds to eat.
The first stage of training, which lasts 21 days, consists of theory instructions and practical military training, where the military and morale levels of a candidate are tested.
It is followed by hard military training in the jungle, which includes instruction in jungle warfare as well as demolition and detection and deactivation of landmines, scuba diving, waterborne operations, construction of improvised training, SERE training, basic air mobile techniques, small-unit patrols, react to contact, and ambush training.
In addition, cadets are exposed to prisoner of war camp situations and survival courses.
During the last stage, they are trained to eat “anything that moves”, including snakes and ants, as well as roots, to collect dew drops from leaves, as well as how to execute annihilation attacks, intelligence maneuvers, and penetration into enemy territory.
During this stage, candidates must patrol through thorn-filled brush wearing nothing but underwear, roll around in thorns to fortify the body to pain, and spend two days in neck-deep water without sleeping in extreme tropical heat. This stage is called El Infierno (“Hell”).
The Kaibiles are infamous for their reputed practice of forcing recruits to kill animals, which includes raising a puppy and bonding with it before killing and eating it, as well as biting the heads off live chickens.
In addition, recruits are shot and forced to perform field surgery on themselves, and to drink water out of recently fired artillery shells.
As part of the course’s finishing ritual, every recruit must drink “Bomb”, a mix of tequila, whisky, rum, beer, water and gunpowder, served in a bamboo glass with a bayonet tied to it.
Soldiers must drink it carefully, so as not to get drunk and cut themselves with the bayonet. Once they successfully complete this ritual, they are inducted into the Kaibiles.