Former Colombian President Andres Pastrana has claimed that current president, Juan Manuel Santos, was aware that Ernesto Samper bought his presidency with “drug money,” local media reported on Sunday.
Andres Pastrana, who served as Colombian president from 1998-2002, initially ran for office in 1994 but was narrowly beaten in the second round of elections by Ernesto Samper. Pastrana accused Samper of being funded by the now defunct Cali Cartel and thus started an investigation known as “Process 8.000.”
Colombian newspaper El Espectador reported that Ex-President Pastrana accused Santos of “knowing” that Samper was involved in drug money for his successful 1994 campaign.
Pastrana claimed that Santos had arranged a “discussion” with drug traffickers and paramilitaries in 1997 which Samper saw as an attempt to overthrow him and his government. He continued to say that “Santos saw that this clearly illustrated how he [President Samper] had used drug money to fund his campaign.”
Pastrana further criticized the Conservative Party for allowing themselves to be “dictated to” by the Liberal Party and the U Party, accusing them of “burying Process 8.000” because the other parties in the coalition do not want the case re-investigated.
Drug trafficking organizations have long had strong ties to Colombian politics. Pablo Escobar — the wealthiest drug lord in Colombian history, even made it to Congress with strong ties to the Liberal Party. The late drug lord was close to former President Alvaro Uribe in the 1980s around the time Uribe was mayor of Medellin.
After the decay of both the Medellin and Cali cartels, paramilitary organization AUC took over the majority of Colombia’s drug trafficking activities which resulted in voter intimidation in the 2002 and 2006 elections. Dozens of lawmakers have been sent to jail for their ties to the paramilitary organization and Uribe, who was elected in these respective years, is under criminal investigation over his ties to the AUC.