Carlos Santana says he has forgiven his abuser: ‘Open your hands, and you let it go’

Carlos Santana plays guitar.
Carlos Santana recently opened about forgiving the person who he says sexually abused him as a child.
(Amy Harris / Invision / AP)

Carlos Santana is speaking out about the person he says sexually abused him in his youth.

In an interview with People magazine, the 75-year-old guitarist reflected on how he has processed the “hurt” of his past.

“I learned to look at everyone who ever went out of their way to hurt me, demean me or make me feel like less, like they’re 5 or 6 years old, and I’m able to look at them with understanding and compassion,” he said.


Santana first revealed he was molested from age 10 to 12 while speaking with Rolling Stone in 2000. He noted his abuser was an American man who would help him cross the border from Tijuana “almost every other day.”

Guitarist Carlos Santana, 74, collapsed during a Tuesday concert in Michigan and was treated at a hospital.

July 6, 2022

“I was seduced by toys, and I was seduced by being brought to America with all kinds of gifts and stuff,” the “Oye Como Va” musician said 23 years ago. “You want to get angry with yourself for not knowing better. The mind has a very insidious way of making you feel guilty: You’re the guilty party, shame on you, you’re the one who brought this on yourself.”

Santana has since reevaluated how he views his abuser.

“For example, this person who abused me sexually, instead of sending him to hell forever, I visualized him like a child, and behind him there was a lot of light,” he said in his People interview. “So I can send him to the light or send him to hell knowing that if I send him to hell, I’m going to go with him. But if I send him to the light, then I’m going to go with him also.”

He turned to an age-old adage to help him let go of his internal guilt and suffering.

“There’s this saying, ‘Hurt people hurt people.’ It’s my pain,” he said. “It did happen to me. But if you open your hands, and you let it go, then you don’t feel that anymore.”

After collapsing onstage in Michigan last week due to exhaustion, guitarist Carlos Santana has postponed six tour stops ‘out of an abundance of caution.’

July 11, 2022

Santana’s new reflections come days before a new documentary chronicling the guitarist, “Carlos,” is set to premiere this weekend at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Last year, the “Black Magic Woman” artist collapsed onstage due to heat and dehydration while performing in Michigan. The 10-time Grammy winner took to Facebook after the incident to thank fans for their “precious prayers” and to let them know that he and his wife, Cindy Blackman Santana, “are good just taking it easy.”


“Forgot to eat and drink water / so i dehydrated and passed out / blessings and miracles to you all,” the “Smooth” musician wrote in verse.