Mexican clowns distance selves from drug lord's slaying
MEXICO CITY - Leaders of clowns
gathered for a convention in Mexico
City said Wednesday they are saddened
that a killer disguised himself as a
clown to kill a drug lord last week --
and they insisted no true member of
their profession would have committed
Convicted drug trafficker Francisco
Rafael Arellano Felix was shot to death
Friday in the Baja beach resort of Los
Cabos by a gunman wearing a clown
costume, including a wig and a rubber
nose. The dead man was the eldest
brother of Mexico's once-feared
Arellano Felix clan.
Clown leader Tomas Morales, a 21-year
veteran of the trade who goes by the
stage name "Payaso Llantom," said he
was certain the killer was not a
professional clown. He said clowns in
Mexico, especially in outlying states,
know each other and their costumes
and makeup are individualized and
"The people who do that, they're not
clowns. I can swear on my mother's
grave it wasn't a clown," said Morales,
whose costume includes frizzy blue
hair and a tiny top hat. "We are not
like that ... we are nonviolent."
"Bufon Marley," the stage name of 49-
year-old Alberto Villanueva, who
dresses a bit like a medieval jester, said
of the killer, "It's sad that it has fallen
to that level."
"I don't think it has anything to do
with us; we do the complete opposite,"
Villanueva said. "I don't think it will
hurt our profession, because in our
communities, people know us."
Morales said there have been past
cases of thieves stealing clown
costumes to commit crimes.
"We clowns suffer robberies," Morales
said. "The criminals have stolen our
vehicles, our costumes, our sound
equipment, our makeup, and with
these same tools we use to work, they
use them to commit robberies."
An estimated 500 clowns from around
Mexico and the rest of Latin America
gathered Wednesday at the
International Clown Meeting and held a
15-minute laugh-a-thon "to
demonstrate their opposition to the
generalized violence that prevails in
As hard as it might sound to be a
clown in a country so riven by crime
and violence, the laughing came
naturally, Villanueva said.
"We laugh at the very things that hurt
us," he said. "It is a very special, very