A Colombian television program has accused the current Miss Cartegena beauty queen, Laura Cantillo, of participating in a pageant sponsored by a Mexican drug lord, El Universal reported Tuesday.
The television special “The Real Drama Behind the Crown,” created by journalist William Prieto, has alleged that the Maja Colombia pageant in 2008, which Cantillo won, was sponsored by alleged Mexican drug lord Caballero Chavez, who served as a judge for the contest in 2009.
According to Prieto, in addition to being a sponsor, Chavez was treated “very well” by participants of the pageant as he regularly paid for them to receive plastic surgery. Prieto’s program also reported that many Uruguayan candidates were forced to have sexual relations with the pageants sponsors. The program also interviewed a former member of Colombia’s paramilitary group the AUC who stated that in 2003 beauty contestants accepted “love proposals” from sponsors.
Miss Cartagena is currently the only candidate who has not been formally accepted into the nation-wide Miss Colombia contest later this year, which she claimed is due to her failure to submit necessary documents. Cantillo denied that her involvement in the pageant was grounds for her dismissal.
“I do not think that [the pageant] is a reason to dismiss me,” said Cantillo. “The fact that I participated in a contest does not mean I am linked with those things, I have always been accompanied by my parents and family. I am a person of integrity.”