Colombia

Former guerrilla leader gets a makeover as he runs for president of Colombia

Rodrigo Londoño, also known as Timoleon “Timochenko” Jimenez, lightened his hair and trimmed his beard. In the image on the right, taken in August 2016, he had dark hair and a beard.
Rodrigo Londoño, also known as Timoleon “Timochenko” Jimenez, lightened his hair and trimmed his beard. In the image on the right, taken in August 2016, he had dark hair and a beard. Images from Twitter and file.

Dressed in camouflage, with a prominent beard and dark hair. That's the image many Colombians still have of Rodrigo Londoño, known until recently as the FARC guerrilla chief called Timoleon “Timochenko” Jimenez.

Now a presidential candidate, Londoño surprised the public last week with a new look — he was thinner, with lighter-colored hair and the beard that characterized him for years now neatly trimmed.

The FARC leader was in Bogotá's Teatro Colon on Friday to talk about the first anniversary of the peace agreement between the government and the guerrillas, and his new look surprised many in the audience.

Some did not appreciate the change. Twitter user @gusalcar wrote: “No one can take away that look of murderer and terrorist.”

His look is not the only part of his life that Londoño wants to change. He told Caracol Radio in an interview that he wants to be called by his real name and not Timochenko, the alias he used during his 30 years as one of the FARC's most feared guerrillas.

The former guerrilla said he wants to appear on the presidential ballot next year as Londoño rather than Timochenko and added that he’s confident of victory.

Polls show most Colombians reject the new FARC — once the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, now a political party called Revolutionary Alternative Force of the Community.

Colombia's FARC rebels are taking the first steps to end their decades-long rebellion. But the lands the group ruled are now up for grabs, and locals fear those who may seize control.

A poll by the Invamer company made public in September showed 88 percent of Colombians would not vote for Timochenko in the presidential race next year.

Follow Catalina Ruiz Parra on Twitter: @catalinaruiz

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