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Hunger Strikers’ Health Deteriorates After Three Weeks

April 4, 1988

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) _ Two of five hunger strikers who have been fasting for 22 days in the main hall of the National Congress are suffering from kidney ailments, a doctor said Monday.

Two university students, two professors and one university worker began their fast March 14 in support of a strike by university faculty members demanding 43 percent salary increases.

Students Aldrin Torres, 22, and Luis Mendoza, 25, have ″symptoms of kidney infection,″ said Dr. Leon Uzcategui after examining the five hunger strikers Monday morning. ″Mendoza also seems to suffer from a liver problem now,″ he said.

The strike by 40,000 teachers and administrative employees began in January and has affected nearly 500,000 students.

A government offer of a 5 percent wage increase was rejected by the strikers. The government said it could not afford to offer more.

Salaries for full-time university teachers ramge from the equivalent of $550 per month to $1,380 per month.

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