BOGOTA, Colombia — Let's say Colombian voters oblige President Juan Manuel Santos and approve his peace deal with the FARC. It would pave the way, among other things, for the leftist rebel group's makeover as a legal political party after it disarms. And because the deal assures it at least 10 seats in Congress, the FARC supreme commander could in the near future be known as Sen. Timoleón "Timochenko" Jiménez.

Or would he be Sen. Rodrigo Londoño? After all, that's his real name, even if he hasn't used it in decades.

Dropping their aliases in favor of assuming their civilian names will be more than a mere formality for thousands of battle-hardened FARC guerrillas, many of whom joined the rebel group — formally known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia — as teenagers. They haven't been addressed by the names their parents gave them in years, let alone seen their parents. It will be a major psychological break with the past.

"One of the first things that happens when you join [the FARC] is they ask you to pick your new name," said Alexandra Nariño, a Dutch woman who became a rebel fighter 14 years ago. She hasn't used her real name, Tanja Nijmeijer, since then, but it's well known to U.S. authorities, who have been seeking her extradition on kidnapping charges.

"It's a nom de guerre," Nariño, the most visible foreign member of the FARC, said in an interview. "All clandestine movements use them, for security reasons."

True: Outlaws, gangsters and insurgents all over Latin America and beyond often adopt pseudonyms. Yet there is a difference between FARC aliases and, say, the flamboyant sobriquets of Mexican drug cartel bosses such as "El Mas Loco" (the Craziest One), "El Verdugo" (The Executioner) and "La Barbie" (Barbie, as in doll).

Pseudonyms serve a different purpose for regimented, armed organizations such as the FARC. They signify a clear rupture with the past and the birth of a new identity — one that is almost entirely subsumed into the needs, goals and commands of the group's leaders.

This is one reason that so many FARC members, especially those in leadership roles, seem almost allergic to reporters' queries about their personal desires and plans for a return to civilian life if Colombians vote Oct. 2 to approve the peace accord. They seem truly perplexed by questions about what sort of lives they will have outside the structure of the guerrilla organization, which they have every intention of preserving, only without weapons and uniforms.

They don't even seem particularly sure about what to do with their names.

"I suppose it will be up to each individual to decide," said Lucas Carvajal, a 31-year-old guerrilla, interviewed in Havana, which hosted the peace talks. Carvajal said he'll go back to his civilian name, but he can't say what it is. It's still a secret.

Perhaps less clear is what more-senior guerrilla commanders will do, especially those who have lived much of their adult lives under aliases, some of which were picked for sentimental or political reasons.

Simón Trinidad, who is serving a 60-year prison sentence in the United States for his role in the kidnapping of three U.S. government contractors in 2003, took his name from Simón Bolivar, the 19th-century South American independence hero. His real name is Ricardo Palmera.

Similarly, no one in the FARC calls Jorge Torres Victoria by that name, his real one. He is senior rebel commander Pablo Catatumbo, who adopted the alias after older brother Pablo was slain in combat in the 1970s.

The Catatumbo name has sown fear in Colombia for nearly as long, so it probably wouldn't help much in electoral politics.

Carvajal, a member of the FARC negotiating team and one of the group's designated historians, said his name was assigned to him by a commanding officer when he arrived in the mountains under threat of assassination for his activities as a communist student leader. It was only later that he found out that he'd been named for a 19th-century Venezuelan independence hero. "I thought, great!" he said.

Only the reality of most FARC pseudonyms is somewhat less exalted, Carvajal acknowledged. The trend among younger guerrilla fighters is to pick names inspired by star athletes or performers. "Soccer plays a big role," he said. "A lot of the names aren't very political."

A few go by monikers such as "Winter" or "Prometheus," Carvajal said, but commanders retain veto power over anything that would seem too flippant for a dead-serious Marxist insurgency.

Also unknown: what FARC will call its yet-to-be unveiled political party. The guerrillas are planning to gather in the jungle Sept. 13 to 19 for a congress that will aim to promote the peace accord and obtain the full approval of the rank-and-file. The guerrillas are expected to say more about their possible political transition then.