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Even when judged by the rough-and-tumble standards of Colombian politics, Pres. Ernesto Samper Pizano's political career was unusually turbulent. In 1989, as he stood talking to Jose Antequera, a member of the left-wing Patriotic Union, an assassin opened fire, killing Antequera and putting four bullets into Samper. He recovered to become leader of the Liberal Party and to win the presidential election in 1994. Samper then encountered new troubles, however, as rumours of the Liberal Party's involvement with the Cali drug cartel were supported by the release of tape recordings of telephone conversations between the cartel's leaders, in which they discussed campaign contributions to the Liberal Party and meetings with Santiago Medina, the campaign's treasurer.