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Latino Daily News

Saturday March 26, 2011

Venezuelan Students Stitch Lips in Hunger Strike Protest

Venezuelan Students Stitch Lips in Hunger Strike Protest

Photo: Venezuela Hunger Strike

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Four students in Venezuela in protest of funding for public universities have sewn part of their lips together. The growing hunger strike began on February 23 with five students.

Students argue that the Universities cannot continue to operate if the government does not provide more funding.

One 18-year-old student, Gabriela Torrijos, stitched the left corner of her mouth together Friday as she and a group of other students maintained their hunger strike outside the U.N. Development Program office in Caracas. Several other students have partly sewn their lips in the past couple days.

Torrijos was in pain after she partially stitched her lips together with her own hands. “After seeing my friends take this action, I did it in solidarity with them,” she told The Associated Press.

University administrators have stated that by early April more than two dozen public universities in the country may not have enough funds to keep cafeterias running or purchase supplies.

Government officials deny the claims and say that anti-Chavez opponents are simply manipulating the students.

“If they want to walk naked through the street, let them do it. If they want to sew whatever they want to sew, let them sew it, but ... we’re going to keep working for our homeland,” Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said during a televised event in southeastern Bolivar state.