Miguel is a slightly built, 19-year-old with a nervous air and a fine-featured dark face. All his life he has lived with his parents in a poor neighborhood of Leon, Nicaragua's second largest city.

Until seven months ago, Miguel drove a truck to support his wife and two small sons. Now he is an urban guerrilla.

Last week, Miguel volunteered to show three foreign reporters around his neighborhood where, he said, the residents fought the armed forces every night. On Sunday, Associated Press reported, fighting spread to the center of Leon with leftist guerrillas firing from the top of the colonial cathedral into a National Guard compound.

Miguel, who said he was under "strict orders" not to reveal his real name, met the foreign reporters at a university building in Leon. The walls were covered with Cuban posters and handwritten slogans and the stairwell was piled with furniture to prevent police raiders from entering quickly.

No classes had been held at the university for some time. The students there would not allow their pictures to be taken or give their names. Two small groups had gathered in the auditorium under a huge banner saying, "Organize the masses to create the basic conditions for war and make war to push to political and organizational development of the masses."

While they were evasive about the activities going on in their building, the students were eager to tell reporters about activities of the National Guard, Nicaragua's combined police and armed forces.

They ticked off the names of people who had been arrested, the addresses of houses that had been raided and the streetcorners where their "martyrs" had fallen.

"Every night in the slums, the lights go off, the people put up barricades, bonfires are lit and lightning meetings are held," said one young man pointed out by the others as a spokesman."Every morning the Guard takes down the barricades.

"The people have tried to put bombs in the barricades that will go off when the Guard tries to take them down, but they have not worked so far."

The reporters asked for more details. Was there anyone there whose house had been raided?

"My house is raided every day came on response." It was Miguel.

"The Guards come in an question my parents. They haven't found me yet. They won't get me alive" he said.

Miguel's neighborhood is called Coyolar. The streets are lined with adobe houses. Muddy alleys lead to privately owned "colonies" of wooden shacks that share one washtub with running water and a string of electric lights.

At every interesection paving stones had been taken out of the streets to slow down the National Guard's patrol jeeps. Trenches had been dug across the dirt roads.

The remains of the night's barricades - twisted pieces of metal and wood - littered many intersections.

Miguel, who had been tense and diffident at the university, obviously felt at home in Coyolar.

Pointing out children with distended bellies, piles of garbage, ramshackle outhouses, he repeated over and over again: "Take a picture of that. Show the Americans how we live in Nicaragua."

As people gathered around the reporters, Miguel would ask, "Isn't that where the Guard shot Jose? Where is the corner where Luis threw the bomb at the Guard jeep?"

Miguel led the reporters down block after block pointing out the sites of skirmishes with the Guard, corralling residents to describe their lives.

As time passed, he occasionally forgot his "strict orders" not to talk about rebel activities. He let slip information about stealing weapons from stores, about making explosive devices at night, about smuggling guns into the neighborhood.

Then he would remember.

To a seemingly innocuous question about his affiliation or beliefs, he would reply:

"I'm sorry, but I have strick orders not to talk about that."

Miguel's ideology was vague, but his passion was directed at two clear targets - the poverty of his neighborhood and the National Guard.

His eyelids dropped as he drank a beer with the reporters in a hot and dingy bar in central Leon.

"I'm sorry. I haven't slept in four nights," he said. "I've been delivering arms."

He glared hotly at a portly man in a polo shirt sitting at a table on the other side of the room.

"That's Chepe," he said, and his glare grew even more intense. "He's a paid assassin, a plainclothes investigator for the National Guard. If he doesn't get who he's looking for, he kills their relatives. He'll never take me alive."