September 25, 1998
Former Contra leader treated at hospital for effects of hunger strike

                  MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) --  Former Contra rebel leader Eden
                  Pastora ended his 34-day hunger strike Thursday after receiving what
                  he said were assurances from congressional leaders that he would
                  regain his right to run for public office.

                  Weak and unable to easily digest liquids after the fast, Pastora had earlier
                  been treated at a hospital. Pastora, 61, staged the fast to protest a court
                  decision barring him from a presidential bid because he had once accepted
                  Costa Rican citizenship.

                  "I ended the strike because the leaders of congress promised me to
                  re-interpret the constitutional articles that affect me," Pastora said in a
                  telephone interview.

                  Legislators were not immediately available to confirm that report.

                  Pastora, who is demanding the right to run for Nicaragua's presidency in
                  2001, returned to his protest campsite in front of the Supreme Electoral
                  Council Thursday after leaving a military hospital earlier in the day.

                  "I feel my health is weaker," he said.

                  A doctor had admitted Pastora to the hospital late Wednesday after the
                  former rebel fainted and complained of persistent nausea and difficulty
                  digesting liquids, after he had stopped eating solid food August 22.

                  Known as "Comandante Zero" during his rebel days, Pastora first fought
                  with the leftist Sandinistas to topple the Somoza regime in 1979 then turned
                  on them, accusing them of being Marxists. In the 1980s, he led the
                  U.S.-backed Contra fight against the Sandinista administration.

                  Because he accepted Costa Rican citizenship during his exile there in the
                  1977, electoral officials have ruled he cannot seek Nicaragua's presidency.
                  Pastora argues that the constitution allows Nicaraguans to retain their rights
                  as long as their second citizenship is in another Central American country.

                     Copyright 1998   The Associated Press.