The Cuban dissidents who eight days ago began a hunger strike on Tuesday abandoned their protest given the apparent imminent release of their imprisoned colleague Jorge Vazquez Chaviano.

Former political prisoner Marta Beatriz Roque, who led the protest, announced its end to reporters gathered at her house in Havana, where she and five other dissidents who accompanied her ended their fast by ingesting camomile tea.

State Security informed Vazquez Chaviano's wife that he would be at home soon, Roque said.

Roque, a 67-year-old diabetic, began the hunger strike to demand the release of Vazquez Chaviano, who - she said - completed his sentence on Sept. 9.

Thirty other dissidents joined the protest.

Besides attempting to gain their comrade's freedom, the hunger strikers also staged their protest to denounce the difficult situation in which - they say - the Cuban opposition currently finds itself.

Roque called Vazquez Chaviano's release a "victory" for the opposition, despite the fact - she said - that Cuba's Communist government has not acknowledged that it made a mistake when it kept him behind bars longer than it should have.

The opposition figure said that she felt poorly after fasting for eight days and losing 8 kilos (17.6 pounds) during that period, and she added that she had not received medical assistance at any time during her protest and revealed that she suffered a heart attack last Wednesday.

She expressed her gratitude for the support the hunger strikers received "from the members of the Cuban nation both inside the country (and) in exile," as well as from international personalities.

She also issued a call for the opposition to continue working together to ensure that "the scanty legality that exists in Cuba is complied with."