One Cuban drops out of hunger strike for Gross

May 18, 2011 02:50


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HAVANA - One of two Cuban dissidents who sewed their mouths almost shut and launched a hunger strike to demand the freedom of jailed US contractor Alan Gross said on Tuesday he had begun eating again after 47 days without food.

Vladimir Alejo Miranda, 48, said a combination of health problems and worried family had convinced him to give up the hunger strike he had vowed to continue until death if necessary. "I was in precarious condition," Alejo told Reuters by telephone. "My lips were wrecked with infection."

He and Angel Enrique Fernandez Rivero, 45, crudely sewed their mouths partially shut so they could drink liquids through a straw and still speak, but not eat.

Fernandez is in bad shape, but will "continue the strike to the ultimate consequences," said his wife, Niurka Rivero.

Gross, 62, is serving a 15-year sentence for providing Internet equipment to Cubans under a secretive US program promoting political change on the communist-led island.

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