Hunger Striker Sews Lips Shut

Thursday, September 23, 2010
From The Miami Herald:
Cuban hunger striker who sewed lips shut hospitalized

The Cuban dissident who sewed his mouth shut to prove he was on a hunger strike fainted amid spasms, according to a report.

A Cuban dissident who sewed his lips shut after doctors made fun of his hunger strike was taken to a hospital Wednesday suffering from convulsions and blackouts, an independent journalist reported.

Vladimir Alejo Miranda, 47, stopped eating 62 days ago, sewed his mouth Sept. 5 and stopped drinking water Tuesday, journalist Heriberto Liranza Romero told El Nuevo Herald by phone from Havana.

Alejo's wife, Rita Montes de Oca, joined his hunger strike and also sewed her lips Sept. 12 with regular sewing thread and a needle, the journalist said [...] 

Alejo, a former political prisoner, is president of the Human Rights Movement Miguel Valdés Tamayo, named after a dissident who was jailed in the 2003 crackdown, was released in 2004 because of ill health and died in 2007.

Jobless because of his political activism, Alejo went on a hunger strike to demand the right to work, the right to receive assistance from abroad and live "like a human being, not an animal,'' Liranza said.