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Jailed Former Mayor Calls Off Hunger Strike in Venezuela

  • Reuters

FILE - Patricia de Ceballos, left, wife of jailed former Mayor Daniel Ceballos, stands next to a banner reading "Release Ceballos" while campaigning to become mayor herself in San Cristobal, Venezuela, May 23, 2014.

FILE - Patricia de Ceballos, left, wife of jailed former Mayor Daniel Ceballos, stands next to a banner reading "Release Ceballos" while campaigning to become mayor herself in San Cristobal, Venezuela, May 23, 2014.

A former Venezuelan mayor jailed last year for his role in anti-government protests has ended a 20-day hunger strike that supporters said had weakened him and triggered kidney pain, his wife said Thursday.

Daniel Ceballos, former mayor of the opposition hotbed of San Cristobal in western Venezuela, had stopped eating to demand the release of jailed politicians and government establishment of a date for this year's parliamentary elections.

"I received a call from my husband @Daniel_Ceballos who told me he decided to stop his hunger strike today, they're already giving him serum intravenously," tweeted Patricia de Ceballos, who won a landslide victory in the San Cristobal mayoral election after her spouse's arrest.

Jailed hard-line opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez started a partial hunger strike May 24. It was not immediately clear whether he, too, would resume eating.

President Nicolas Maduro said the pair were responsible for more than 40 deaths during last year's massive anti-government demonstrations and that he had no plans to order their release.

Both men were held at the Ramo Verde military prison until Ceballos was transferred to the San Juan civilian jail in Guarico state last month.

Ceballos' wife said she hoped to have dinner with him in prison, and that he had asked that she bring soup.

Some moderates in the opposition have criticized the high-profile hunger strikes as distractions from this year's key elections and Venezuela's day-to-day problems, which include shortages of everything from medicines to milk, severe crime rates, and soaring inflation that gobbles up purchasing power.

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