Venezuelan political prisoner Leopoldo López has lifted his hunger strike after 30 days of fasting, his wife, Lilian Tintori, said Tuesday, relaying a written note from her husband. The announcement comes a day after Venezuela's electoral commission announced a date for legislative elections, which had been one of López's key demands.
"I want to thank those who actively joined this protest through a hunger strike,” López wrote in a note Tintori read at a press conference Tuesday. “Now I ask you to lift the hunger strike. We need to be healthy and full of life to achieve peace and freedom for all Venezuelans. The fight continues.”
López first announced his hunger strike in a video leaked from his prison cell May 24, saying it was an effort to protest against the “permanent violations of our rights and to our families” by the government of President Nicolás Maduro. He had demanded the administration announce a date for legislative elections planned for later this year, transparent international observation of those elections and the immediate release of political prisoners. López himself has been in prison for more than a year, charged with incitement of violence in the mass anti-government demonstrations that overtook the capital in spring 2014.
The electoral commission announced Monday that the election date was set for December 6, although it denied that political pressure had anything to do with the announcement. Nonetheless, members of Venezuela’s opposition hailed Monday’s announcement as a victory.
Daniel Ceballos, another political prisoner and the former mayor of San Cristobal, Venezuela, was also on a hunger strike for several weeks before suspending it June 11. At least 70 supporters had joined the fast in solidarity with the prisoners.
On Sunday, Tintori wrote on Twitter that the hunger strike had seriously weakened her husband. “Today I was able to see Leopoldo. He is very thin, very weak and cannot stand,” she wrote.
Hoy pude ver a Leopoldo, esta muy delgado, está muy débil, ya no puede pararse.
â€” Lilian Tintori (@liliantintori) June 22, 2015
López’s lawyer, Roberto Marrero, told reporters last week López had lost 15 kilograms (33 pounds) as a result of the fast.