And a lot of us hope it does and not just because of the upcoming election.
Some of the first investors in Mitt Romney’s firm Bain Capital, according to a report on the Los Angeles Times, were Salvadoran families living in Miami with members accused by the US government of funding death squads in the brutal civil war in El Salvador.
When Bain Capital was founded in 1984, Romney and his partners had trouble raising funds for their initial investments. “$9 million came from rich Latin Americans,” the Times reports, “including powerful Salvadoran families living in Miami.… At the time, U.S. officials were publicly accusing some exiles in Miami of funding right-wing death squads in El Salvador. Some family members of the first Bain Capital investors were later linked to groups responsible for killings.”
The civil war in El Salvador lasted from 1980 to 1992 and killed more than 70,000 Salvadorans. It started after Archbishop Óscar Romero was assassinated while giving a mass shortly after he published an open letter to President Carter asking him to cut off US military aid to the Salvadoran military regime.
The Times reporters found no direct evidence that the accused Salvadorans themselves “invested in Bain or benefited from it”—it was “family members” of Bain investors who were linked to the killings.
Romney himself made a trip to Miami in 1984 to raise money for Bain from the Salvadorans. “The group included some of El Salvador’s wealthiest people,” the Times reports, including coffee exporters Francisco R.R. de Sola and his cousin Herbert Arturo de Sola. His brother, Orlando de Sola, according to the Times, was “suspected by State Department officials and the CIA of backing the right-wing death squads, according to now-declassified documents.” ...The Nation
Probably most Americans -- and almost certainly those who were born in the Reagan era and later -- have little if any acquaintance with America's role -- as William LeoGrande puts it -- "in our own backyard." LeoGrande's 1998 book (a dense and well documented 700+ pages) catalogues our involvement in El Salvador and the rest of Central America -- what became our "covert war" in that area.
As Greg Grandin writes in "Empire's Workshop," successive American administrations have "feigned indifference" an area which for many years served us as a "workshop of empire."
"The Western Hemisphere," Grandin writes, "was to be the staging ground for a new 'empire for liberty,' a phrase used by Thomas Jefferson specifically in reference to Spanish Florida and Cuba."
Of course, not all of America's extraterritorial activities have made it into the history books, not more than they were about "liberty." What Reagan did in Central America is like having a locked closet in the house for decades, a closet no one gets to look into. Still, it wouldn't surprise many of us that Mitt Romney's wealth and connections put Bain Capital in the same neighborhood as the funding for American trained El Salvadoran troops whose actions, as well as the unspeakable corruption and cruelty of the right in Central America, were subsidized by successive Republican administrations in Washington. Those were the troops who were directly responsible for the murders of men, women, and children, "often by decapitation," at El Mozote. (See Mark Danner's " The Massacre at El Mozote.") We didn't just train troops; it's a safe bet we found plenty of ways to fund their slaughter of anyone who looked like they'd appreciate a little freedom and economic opportunity. That was our way, it seems, of promoting "stability" beyond our borders while keeping ourselves "free."
During his first presidential bid in 2007, Romney more than once touted the Central American investors in Bain while trying to woo Hispanic voters. In a speech in March of that year to the Miami-Dade Lincoln Day Dinner, Romney actually specified five of the original “partners” in Bain Capital — but the de Sola family was not among those he named.
And that August he told the Miami Herald, “The investments for the company that I started, Bain Capital, came largely from Latin America. My largest single investors came from El Salvador, Ecuador, Colombia and Guatemala. And so I feel a deep kinship to people in Latin America.” ...Justin Elliot, Pro Publica