Asia Jailed Venezuela opposition leader ends hunger strike

Jailed Venezuela opposition leader ends hunger strike

Venezuela opposition leader Daniel Ceballos was deposed as mayor of San Cristóbal and incarcerated at the Ramo Verde military prison.
Venezuela opposition leader Daniel Ceballos was deposed as mayor of San Cristóbal and incarcerated at the Ramo Verde military prison.

(AA) – A Venezuelan opposition leader currently in jail for his involvement in last year’s deadly anti-government protests, ended a 20-day hunger strike Thursday, according to his wife.

“I received a call from my husband, @Daniel_Ceballos; he told me that he had decided to stop his hunger strike today,” Patricia de Ceballos tweeted, adding that her husband was being given nutrients intravenously.

Ceballos’s health condition had deteriorated significantly in recent days, and doctors were concerned that his kidneys might not be functioning properly, local media reported.

There has been no word on whether his fellow jailed opposition leader, Leopoldo López, will curtail his own 18-day hunger strike.

Ceballos, the former mayor of the western city of San Cristóbal, was arrested last March amid violent anti-government protests that eventually claimed the lives of more than 40 people. The protests began in his city, and then spread across the country, including to the capital, Caracas.

He is charged with inciting violence and has been labeled a “terrorist” by President Nicolás Maduro. After being held at the Ramo Verde military prison near Caracas alongside López, he was recently transferred to a civilian prison further from the capital.

Former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe González traveled to Venezuela earlier this week to visit the opposition leaders, but succeeded only in visiting former Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma, who is under house arrest, accused of plotting alongside the United States to overthrow Maduro and his government.

González also visited relatives and legal teams representing the opposition figures but left the country Tuesday after failing to gain access to jails to visit López and Ceballos, or to attend court hearings.

A trained lawyer, González would not be allowed to practice in Venezuela but would be able to provide legal advice to López and Ceballos.

His visit was condemned by President Maduro as a “disgrace”, “Felipe, nobody cares about you, you are repudiated by the whole country,” Maduro said Wednesday.

González responded Thursday saying that Maduro was “responsible for Venezuela’s security catastrophe” and that international mediators were required — including the Union of South American Nations, the EU and the Organization of American States.

Last week the former presidents of Colombia and Bolivia, Andrés Pastrana and Jorge Quiroga, respectively, also failed to gain access to the political prisoners during their own trips to Venezuela, and instead appealed to Pope Francis to help secure the release of the prisoners.