Posted by: Paula Delgado-Kling | October 7, 2010

Pastor Alape’s Fashion Sense

Alias “Pastor Alape” is the FARC’s new military head, following the death of Mono Jojoy. He has eight hundred men under his command. Authorities roam the corridor between Colombia’s Uraba and the Venezuelan border in search of this “most wanted.”

If you see him, know that the U.S. State Department is offering $2.5 million for any information of his whereabouts. You’d spot him due to his “Che Guevarra” fashion, black beret, long hair, shaggy beard with strays of white hair. With this garb, if he were to suddenly make an appearance in a Benicio del Toro movie about guerrillas in Colombia, you might critic the character’s wardrobe as cliché, as so-done-already. Could the researchers and wardrobe crew not have come up with a new twist? I suggest a red bandana or a red wife-beater-type of top that playful peaks from under the AK-47. (Incidentally, that look is all the rave for Fall, right out of Fashion Week.)

El Che died in 1967 and Pastor Alape, who joined the FARC in 1983 when he was twenty-seven years old, is stuck in that Che fashion rut. I apologize for my tongue-in-cheek tone here—because there’s nothing funny about the negative effect of this murderer on Colombia—but Pastor Alape’s “look,” which he has evidently put much effort into and which highlights his concern for his image, screams passé. (Or not; perhaps, he streamed the Marc Jacobs line on the Internet.)

The journalist David Beriaín visited Pastor Alape’s camp three years ago. Watch the video here.

Pastor Alape, fifty-one years old, was born Felix Antonio Muñoz Lascarro. He was lured into the FARC during his time as a member of the Communist Youth Movement. Traces of the acne from his youth are what you first notice about him. Take in his black crow-like eyes, the sheen evaporated from them, entirely. He looks exhausted; his slumped body begging for rest. The emotional luggage this man carries shows in his eyes and in his posture.

Beriaín described him as “very politically radical” and “rather inflexible.” The military called him “stubborn in his political thinking.” Is his rhetoric also as passé as his wardrobe?

But, perhaps, what is uncommon about Pastor Alape is that he is the FARC’s supreme business man: he strategized and implemented the FARC’s cocaine policies, directing and controlling the production, manufacture, and distribution of hundreds of tons of cocaine to the U.S. and the world. And to raise funds for the FARC, he is who began the “taxation” of the drug trade in Colombia, extortioning coca farmers for their “right” to grow the crop, which, in turn, the FARC buys. He has ordered that farmers who sell cocaine paste to the other buyers, the paramilitaries, be bombed or murdered.

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