Saturday, April 10, 2004

Cuba: Give me liberty or give me death

A Cuban human rights activist, jailed for hatching plans to honor the late Brothers to the Rescue fliers, has lapsed into a coma after a prolonged hunger strike, according to sources monitoring his health.

Sources described as ''delicate'' the condition of Leonardo Miguel Bruzón Avila, imprisoned without trial since Feb. 23, 2002, the eve of a protest he was organizing to commemorate the death of the four Miami exiles in 1996.

'He said he was going to start an indefinite hunger strike called 'Liberty or Death,' '' journalist María del Carmen Carro said in a telephone interview Wednesday from Havana. "Other prisoners joined him, but they gave up.''

Carro said Bruzón Avila, who began his hunger strike on Oct. 10, lapsed into a coma on Tuesday. He decided to refuse even liquids in February, the second anniversary of his arrest. His mother told sources Bruzón had lost teeth due to malnutrition.

''He wanted to have his day in court or be liberated,'' Carro said.
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