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Colombia's president has escaped charges of taking millions of dollars of cocaine proceeds from the Cali cartel during his 1994 election campaign. Ernesto Samper was cleared by the country's parliament and the move means means he will not be impeached and is free to complete two more years of his term. Widespread outrage over the decision, however, suggests he is in for a rough ride. Opponents described parliament's decision as "a comedy" and "the farce of the century" and promised strikes and other protests.

Parliament voted 111-43 in favour of Mr Samper with his Liberal Party colleagues standing by him. More than a dozen of these are themselves under investigation for alleged links with drug cartels.

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