Thursday, July 19, 2012

Romney/Bain's tenuous ties to Salvadoran death squads

Yes, it sounds like hyperbole at best and worse, some paranoid conspiracy theory, traits typical for regressives. But I just heard Thom Hartmann report on this. The original story comes from Salon magazine and Justin Elliott's 1/20/12 story, "The roots of Bain Capital in El Salvador's civil war." These are both reputable sources and I have yet to find a fact check disputing it. So here are his details.

In 1984 a war was raging between the right-wing El Salvadoran government and left-wing rebels. The government had literal death squads, with those killed estimated as high as 70,000. These squads were financially backed by some in the Salvadoran oligarchy. A significant portion (40%) of Bain's start-up capital came from rich oligarchs in El Salvador. And Romney was personally involved in courting these oligarchs.

Elliott admits that none of Bain's original investors were involved with the death squads, but there are some questionable associations. Four members of the de Sola family were original investors and their relative, Orlando de Sola (OdS), was a former business partner with the family. Again no direct tie has been made between OdS and death squad funding, but he was "a founding member of the right-wing Arena party, lead by a U.S.-trained former intelligence officer named Roberto D’Aubuisson (DA)." OdS was in DA's inner circle when DA was "well known to be involved in the death squads." So much so that OdS was under FBI investigation for these ties.

Jon Wiener updates the story in his Nation Magazine piece today. Romney personally made a trip to El Salvador and met with the above mentioned de Sola family, but not OdS. OdS is in jail for "unrelated fraud charges," and when interviewed denies he had anything to do with the death squads or with his family's investment in Bain.

There, see, if this was regressive paranoid conspiracy the above facts would not have been mentioned at all. Instead they'd have Obama personally pulling the trigger on at least a dozen victims. The ties are tenuous and seemingly straining credibility. I think progressives are better served by focusing on other facts, like Bain's vulture leveraged buyouts, outsourcing and Romney's tax returns. These are more indicative of the type of vision he'd implement for the country given the chance.

1 comment:

  1. This story focused more on how Panama is used as a tax haven for foreign Bain investors, a more useful focus.


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