Nicaraguan Opposition Candidate Meets with Bush
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Nicaraguan presidential candidate Violeta Chamorro met Wednesday with President Bush to underscore his support for her cause and focus international attention on the upcoming election.
″I am looking to my democratic friends to tell them my desire for solidarity for the future″ of Nicaragua, Mrs. Chamorro, candidate of the umbrella group opposing the ruling Sandinistas, said after the meeting with Bush.
She also will go to Rome, London, Madrid and Paris to solicit international pressure for fair, open elections Feb. 25, said her associate, Ernesto Palazio.
″We need more than ever the eyes of the world to be fixed in Nicaragua. Don’t look anywhere else, even for a single minute,″ Mrs. Chamorro said earlier at a luncheon sponsored by the Roman Catholic human rights group, Puebla Institute.
″All over the world, the time for dictatorship is running out,″ she said.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega cannot win a fair election, Mrs. Chamorro said.
″In a clean election in Nicaragua, he is not going to win because the people want a change from totalitarianism to democracy,″ she told reporters at the White House.
Mrs. Chamorro visited the White House as the Sandinista government said it would propose a new cease-fire to be coupled with demobilization of the U.S.-backed Contra rebels.
Ortega said he would bring the plan to reinstate the cease-fire he called off last week to a United Nations-sponsored meeting with the Contras on Thursday in New York.
The plan would include a general amnesty once at least 50 percent of the Contras have demobilized and the rebels free kidnapped people they hold.
Mrs. Chamorro told reporters Ortega should have given the amnesty long ago and fulfilled other promises of the regional peace accord he signed in August with four other presidents of Central America.
The Contras should demobilize, she said, adding that the Sandinista government should fullfil its promises.
Contra leaders met Wednesday with Bush administration officials to discuss their approach to the U.N. talks. The Contras were willing to discuss demobilizing their troops, said one administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Their conditions include full amnesty for those imprisoned in the war and several ″confidence-building″ measures aimed at ensuring secure conditions for those Contras who want to return to their homeland.
Meanwhile, the U.N. Security Council is sending a 625-member border patrol force to stop Contras from infiltrating the border from Honduras and to interdict shipments of Nicaraguan and Cuban weapons the State Department says are being made to leftist rebels in El Salvador.