Contra Leader Ferrey Returns to Nicaragua After 6 Years in Exile

From Reuters

Resistance leader Roberto Ferrey returned home to Nicaragua on Monday after six years in exile and pledged to fight to improve conditions for democracy in the period leading up to next February's elections.

Ferrey told reporters that his return did not necessarily mean that he is quitting as a Contra director, a position he only recently assumed, or that he had dropped the idea of a military solution in Nicaragua.

"We have decided for now to take part in the political process inside Nicaragua, which means to fight to improve the conditions that so far exist within Nicaragua," he said.

Ferrey said he will not join any of the 21 opposition parties in Nicaragua but will work within the National Opposition Union (UNO) to beat the governing Sandinistas at the polls.

He said that there are still rebels ready to go back to war and that he would seek to change conditions inside Nicaragua to make it more attractive for them to give up their fight and come home.

Under a plan agreed upon by five Central American presidents Aug. 7 in Honduras, the U.S.-supported Contras will have three months to abandon their Honduran bases starting Sept. 6. They will either have to return home or go to countries other than Honduras.

Ferrey said a major problem is the continuing detention of thousands of relatives of the Contras.

"How are we going to tell a combatant to come back when his relatives, friends and supporters are still in jail?" he asked.

He said the Sandinistas are using the release of certain prisoners as a campaign ploy and called this "immoral and deceptive."

Ferrey was last in Nicaragua in May, 1988, as a negotiator for the Sandinista-Contra pacts worked out in Managua.

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