Colombian presidential candidate Juan Manuel Santos admitted in a radio interview that he had smoked marijuana during his youth.
“During the university phase, I smoked marijuana just as almost all [my] colleagues at the universities did,” the Partido de la U candidate said.
Santos, who is unofficially backed by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe to take over the reigns of power, attended the University of Kansas in the 1970s.
Following Santos’ revelation, Polo Democratico candidate Gustavo Petro said that he had also smoked the illegal substance in his youth.
Petro said the focus should not be on whether or not candidates had taken drugs, but on their attitude to youth of today, who engage in the same experimentation.
“What concerns me is the attitude of the vice president, who admitted [to smoking marijuana] to a magazine that he got caught smoking in Amsterdam, and how now as a leader practically champions the idea that it does not allow the free development of personality, then changed the constitution, creating a gap which means that young people who are caught on street corners are almost sent to prison… this is a strident and double standard,” the former M-19 guerrilla said.
Petro added that presidential candidate drug use is relevant from a constitutional perspective, “not because of Santos in particular, but because of their current attitude towards the issue.”
Colombia’s Vice President Francisco Santos – the cousin of Juan Manuel Santos – admitted to smoking marijuana during a trip to Amsterdam. The current administration succeeded in getting a law through Colombian congress that prohibits the carrying and/or consumption of personal doses of drugs.
Colombia will go to the poll to elect its next president on May 30.