MANAGUA, NICARAGUA, NOV. 23 -- Nicaraguan rebels announced today in Costa Rica that two of their exiled political leaders will attempt to travel to Managua to present Cardinal Miguel Obando y Bravo on Tuesday with their proposal for a cease-fire.
President Daniel Ortega said Nicaragua will only allow the visit -- by Alfonso Robelo and Azucena Ferrey, two directors of the rebel alliance known as the Nicaraguan Resistance -- if the pair accepts a government amnesty under the terms of a Central American peace plan.
Neither Ferrey nor Robelo could be reached for comment. But a Nicaraguan Resistance spokesman, Bosco Matamoros, said in a telephone interview, "I don't foresee it."
The move by the rebels, or contras, appeared timed to capitalize on the international response to the return of exiled Salvadoran political leaders under the peace plan.
In late October, the six directors of the Nicaraguan Resistance told the press of a similar plan to return to Managua. At that time the Nicaraguan government declined to issue them passports unless they formally accepted the amnesty, which requires them to renounce armed warfare.
Sandinista aviation authorities advised airlines then not to allow the contras to board any flight bound for Managua and for several weeks, Army soldiers checked every arriving flight.
Today, Marisa Leal, a Nicaraguan Resistance spokeswoman in San Jose, Costa Rica, said by telephone that Robelo and Ferrey would come to Managua "by their own means of transportation" from Costa Rica. She did not say exactly how. They hope to meet Obando shortly after noon at the offices of the Archdiocese of Managua, Leal said.
Obando, who is considering whether or not to accept a role as intermediary in indirect cease-fire talks, apparently was forewarned of the contra visit. In his homily yesterday he said he had received a phone call from a contra representative to say "a person" would bring him some documents Tuesday. He did not comment further.
The two resistance leaders are attempting to deliver the contras' outline of the role the cardinal should play as intermediary and their position on a cease-fire. Ortega presented the government's 11-point position on the cease-fire to Obando last week.