Former contras leave Peruvian Embassy
Government assures ex-rebels they will not be prosecuted
BY SUE MULLIN
Special to The Herald
MANAGUA -- Seventeen former contra rebels left the grounds of
Embassy on Tuesday after receiving assurances from the government that they
would not be prosecuted and that President Arnoldo Aleman would set up a
commission to study their grievances and report within 30 days.
The former rebel fighters climbed into pickup trucks to return
to their farms, a day
after they had scaled a fence and occupied the embassy grounds.
The standoff ended after former contra Commander Walter ``Toño''
with representatives of the government, Peruvian Ambassador Alfredo Arnaiz and
Archbishop Abelardo Mata of Esteli.
The protesters said they occupied the embassy's small garden to
to their claim that only a tiny fraction of their members have received titles to land
promised in peace negotiations more than a decade ago. Those negotiations
brought an end to the war between the leftist Sandinistas then ruling Nicaragua
and the U.S.-backed counterrevolutionaries called contras.
During the occupation, the front-yard garden at the modest embassy
country fair, with bottles of soda and plastic bags of orange juice being passed
through the iron grill fence to the ex-contras.
``We took a wild gamble that the Peruvians might help us and so
far they have
been nice to us,'' one man said.
Meanwhile, 15 former rebels who helped block a road at Boaco,
Managua, on Monday, have been arrested and jailed. It was the second such
protest in four days. A group estimated to number as many as 600 people placed
large boulders to stop traffic at a highway junction. When anti-riot police armed
with tear gas and rubber bullets arrived to disperse the crowd, some of the
protesters opened fire on them, wounding four people -- three police officers and a