Jaime Pardo Leal
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|Jaime Pardo Leal|
March 28, 1941|
Ubaque, Cundinamarca, Colombia
|Died||October 11, 1987
La Mesa, Cundinamarca, Colombia
Members of the Patriotic Union became the target of multiple death threats and assassination attempts. Pardo Leal himself, after running for president in 1986, was assassinated by a 14-year-old on October 11, 1987, who was later killed as well. Drug lord José Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha, also known as "the Mexican", was apparently involved in the murder as a sponsor. The Colombian Communist Party newspaper Voz published a report in which it linked members of the Colombian military to Rodríguez Gacha.
By 1988, the UP announced that more than 500 of its members, including Pardo Leal and four congressmen, had been assassinated to date. Unidentified gunmen later attacked more than 100 of the UP's local candidates in the six months preceding the March 1988 elections. An April 1988 report by Amnesty International charged that members of the Colombian military and government would be involved in what was called a "deliberate policy of political murder" of UP militants and others. The terms of that accusation were rejected and deemed to be an inaccurate exaggeration by the administration of Virgilio Barco Vargas.
By 2003-2004, the official legal representatives of a partial number of UP victims presented a concrete death toll of about 1,163 to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), of which 450 (38%) were attributed directly to paramilitary groups. The breakdown of the remainder was not publicly specified.