Now Romney blamed for ‘death squads’ in El Salvador?

Now Romney blamed for 'death squads' in El Salvador?

“Mitt Romney Started Bain Capital with Money from Families Tied to Death Squads.”

So reads an inflammatory headline from the Huffington Post. The story, which is making its rounds on the left, uses innuendo — a standard feature of attacks against Romney — to suggest that the extended families of some Central American investors in Bain Capital’s launch were involved in killing civilians. It’s a hit piece.

Moreover, if there were anything to the allegations, the Obama Administration would have to explain why it met with one of the alleged hit-squad leaders twice this year.

As the story goes, when Bill Bain asked Mitt Romney to launch a private equity spin-off of his consulting firm Bain & Company in 1983, he stipulated that his protege would not be able to raise cash from current clients to shield them from the potential losses of the more risky venture. When Romney struggled to raise money,  he successfully approached some “Central American oligarchs,” according to the article, to help get the business off the ground.

The Los Angeles Times has reported, though some U.S. officials accused  Central American exiles in Miami of funding “right-wing death squads inEl Salvador” (the left-wing death squads were in power, incidentally) “no evidence indicates those relatives invested in Bain or benefited from it.”

But two of the people named by Huffington Post, Francisco de Sola and his cousin, Herbert Arturo de Sola, are interesting.

As the Huffington Post points out, in 1990, Orlando and Francisco de Sola “allegedly” assassinated two left-wing activists in Guatemala. They don’t mention that the  report states there was “no definitive evidence” linking them to assassinations. Moreover, the alleged assassination took place six years after they invested in Bain. It’s amazing that Romney’s supernatural ability to foresee future events hadn’t kicked in.

If we concede that the story has legs, it is also fair to ask: Why would the Obama Administration meet with leaders of right-wing hit squads?

After all, Francisco de Sola met with Obama’s Deputy Secretary of Commerce in January 2012. He also met with Eric Postel, the Coordinator Of The Partnership For Growth in February 2012 to discuss an a initiative that seeks to “focus international resources on reducing the primary obstacles to a country’s economic growth.”

If Francisco de Sola’s investment in Bain is worth noting, even though he was accused of his crime six years after the fact, surely the administration meeting with him after the accusations were made is remarkable.

During the 1994 Senate race, Ted Kennedy sent private investigators  digging  into these  accusation, as well, and they came up with nothing.  As Newsweek reported at the time:

 In researching Romney’s business background, IGI has looked for information that might tie his companies to convicted arbitrageur Ivan Boesky and insider-trading scandals. IGI also fished for evidence that would link Romney’s Latin American business partners to Salvadoran death squads. They found none, but a recent Boston Globe article suggested darkly that “members of the extended families” of the investors in one of Romney’s companies had ties to “right-wing paramilitary groups.”

Dare I say, perhaps campaigns had higher standard in those days, but I’m probably romanticizing the past.

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