Romney's Bain Capital connected to Salvador death squads?


A new dimension of the story of Mitt Romney's connections to Bain Capital has now emerged, namely the possible connection of Bain, and Romney, to violent ultra-right-wing political circles in Latin America.

When Romney was, in the early 1980s, spinning off Bain Capital from its parent company Bain and Company, he was told that he had to find new people to put up the initial capital. So he made a connection with some members of the elite "14 families" that have historically run El Salvador, many of whom were living in Miami at that time because of the civil war raging in their homeland. Early contributors of a total of $9 million to Bain's startup were members of the de Sola, Poma, Dueñas and Salaverria families. The facilitator for this hookup seems to have been Panamanian-born banker Frank Kardonski, who died earlier this year.

Romney later claimed that he was nervous about dealing with some of these people for fear that the money they would put into Bain Capital might be tainted by drug trafficking or human rights violations. So he had them vetted as individuals (he says) but did not check out there relatives. But for of Latin American oligarchs, everything is "family business."

These Salvadoran families were involved in coffee and cotton production and other enterprises, and had kept control of the country through dictatorial governments. In 1979 the dictator of the moment, Carlos Humberto Romero, was overthrown and replaced by a progressive military-civilian "Junta", which tried to initiate land reform and the nationalization of the banking and coffee industries. This greatly threatened the interests of the oligarchy, which responded violently.

During this period and subsequently, also, the Salvadoran oligarchs were interested in diversifying their investments, so the Bain opportunity was in line with their priorities.

They have continued to invest in Bain.

The money was channeled through shell companies and banks in Panama. This was in the early 1980s, when Panama was run by strongman Manuel Noriega, and when the Panamanian banking system was notorious for its secrecy and therefore its use for money laundering by drug traffickers and other criminals, including the CIA.

Another Bain investor was Robert Maxwell, a corrupt British press lord who had deep ties to both the CIA and the Israeli Mossad, and after whose very suspicious drowning death was discovered to have been looting his employees' pension fund. Another British financier who put up initial money for Bain Capital was Sir Jack Lyons, who later was convicted of unrelated corrupt practices.

Many of the Salvadoran families who pitched in for the start-up of Bain Capital were also contributors to the ferociously right wing political party ARENA (National Republican Alliance). ARENA's leading light was a former military officer, Roberto D'Aubuisson, who is considered to have been the godfather of the death squads in El Salvador. D'Aubuisson, who died of cancer in 1992, is known to have ordered the March, 1980 assassination of the Archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Romero, because the prelate had been denouncing military violence against the Salvadoran people. Seventy-five thousand people were killed in the Salvadoran Civil War, the vast majority by the death squads and the military. The Reagan administration gave full support to all this violence, which, in the "Contra Wars", eventually enveloped Nicaragua and Honduras also.

The networks of reactionary forces that were brought together by the activities of the Salvadoran elites, often working with the CIA and criminal elements, continue to be a destabilizing element all over the Western Hemisphere. The Salvadoran ultra-right was involved in efforts to start a terrorism campaign in Cuba in the late 1990s. Several bombs set off in Havana, one of them killing an Italian tourist, Fabio de Celmo.

The networks which link Central and South American reactionaries with right wing politicians in the United States have their fingerprints on the coups in Honduras and Paraguay, and are deeply involved in efforts to destabilize the progressive governments of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Their activities are integrated with those of the right wing Cuban exile elite in South Florida and elsewhere.

Many progressives here and abroad are disappointed by the Obama administration's Latin America policy. The Cuba blockade is still on, and our money continues to be poured into the "drug wars" in Colombia and Mexico. The Clinton State Department connived at legitimizing the results of the 2009 coup in Honduras.

However, a victory for Romney and his Republicans in November would greatly worsen the situation. It would mean that the kind of right wing extremists who helped Romney establish Bain Capital in the 1980s and whom he still calls his friends would be partners in setting U.S. policy toward the entire region. U.S. harassment of Cuba, Venezuela and other countries with progressive governments would sharply increase. Reactionary Republican Latin America policy figures Ollie North, Otto Reich, Roger Noriega and John Negroponte, all of them major figures in the "Contra Wars" but still politically active, as well as Cuban exile politicians like Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen would be the people Mitt Romney would probably turn to in developing Latin America policy for the United States.

We can't let that happen by default.

Photo: Statue of Archbishop Óscar Romero, who was murdered by a right-wing death squad. Amber // CC 2.0

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  • why has this not been brought out in the course of the run up to the election thank you for the inclusion of the word
    if think it was "Possible" ie romney's connection with these folks question is what did he/does he know it, and what is his real connection with real malefactors, could he be being mislead by family members of course if this all true it behooves him to find out and behave appropriately. i regret to say i do not have any in depth knowledge re these issues, but try to keep an open mind and learn. not having any idea about mr romney in the 80's or the in depth issues, i would guess that if it had been me at that time, i would have thought that those folks'/governments connections with cia, reagan and mossad indicated that all was in the best interests of the best intentions of the usa. i mean this sincerely, as one who would have like to think the usa always did what was right--like ollie norh's second lt saluting smartly and charging up the hill--or soomething to that effect thank you for any infomation

    Posted by JUDYFORD, 10/19/2012 12:43am (3 years ago)

  • This is one world.
    When the parasitic billionaire and millionaire aspirants, seek god money, they do so on the backs, hands, feet and necks of the oppressed and the exploited of the world.
    Just as surely as the great Roberto Clemente sought and fought to unify Latin America, through the unity of the Puerto Rican and Nicaraguan peoples, and all, North, Central, and South Americas, Bain and Romney seek to disunify all, and drain the life blood of the poor, exploited and oppressed.
    The Negro blood pulsates through all of the Americas. In this blood, there is a special task of the African American, and the literature of the great Communist, W. E. B. Du Bois tells of this task, spanning the end of the 19th century, reaching almost to the ends of the 20th.
    It was M L K who told of the greatness of Du Bois while in the company of other great Communists, about 40 days before his murder, promoting the unity of workers or proletariats in the hemisphere and world.
    Let's start to continue along those paths, or the "Revolutionary Tracings" of the working class's friends, James E. and Esther Cooper Jackson, (also friends of the Du Boises), by beating back the attacks on universal suffrage, then imperialism and its inherent racism, in re-electing the 44th President Barack Hussein Obama, staying the hand of the Reactionary Republican Rapists, who seek to devour and deprive the earth of its life-giving capacities-we cannot fail.
    Thanks Emile Schepers for this illuminating article.

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 08/13/2012 9:49am (4 years ago)

  • Your writing is right on. I am a way older senior and I wish I had money, but I don't. Thank you for your writing. All i can do is dig the right wing news.

    Posted by m brower, 08/12/2012 7:21pm (4 years ago)

  • What Mitt and his company do should be illegal… at best, it is immoral. Romney is a Vampire in Mormon Clothing and under his leadership, Bain gutted companies, sucking them dry and leaving families in shambles without work or a means to provide for their children. Is this the type of leader we want? Read more about the role of Romney’s blood money in this election and the power of his sacred undergarments at

    Posted by Brandt Hardin, 08/10/2012 8:49pm (4 years ago)

  • Maybe you should have turned the microscope on Obama to expose his hate for this country, capitalism, freedom and his Chicago mob relationships. If the gov't controls your health care, they control you. Get over the tax returns - this is a diversion from the real issues (show us Obama's college transcripts - maybe his real birth certificate). Address our horrible economy, our national debt, protecting our boarders, working for welfare (now that's a novel idea), putting Americans back to work - CREATING JOBS, fast & furious, our relationship w/ Israel (what foreign policy), Salendra & other failed green gov't investments etc. This list is really long and he's only been our president for 3.5 years. Obama is sending this country down the tiolet. He wears a different pair of flip flops everyday, it just depends on his audience. It will be great to have a President who actually worked for a living (you would have found this out if Obama was properly vetted) and had to make a payroll run this country instead of a pitiful golfer who can't wait for his next tee time or his next tele promptor speaking engagement/fundraisers. Wake up or maybe you're not proud to be an American. Romney may not be perfect but he is compared to what we have now.

    Posted by chris in Texas, 08/10/2012 4:50pm (4 years ago)

  • The depths of capital have no shame, no conscience and no regard for human life.

    Romney has $$$ taking up the space between his right and left ears.

    There is nothing else. So, let's defeat him big time.


    Posted by , 08/10/2012 4:36pm (4 years ago)

  • Great work. Any story that associates candidate Romney foreign policy ties to his Aryan roots comments last month in Europe deserves media exposure. Behind the religious facade of a neo-con family man lies the hidden potential for another Willie Horton tactic to up-end the change and hope strategy of President Obama. Why else does Mitt refuse to release tax return information but to outpace Obama in fundraising activity for 3 straight months? Keep it up.

    Posted by Richard Grassl, 08/10/2012 1:17pm (4 years ago)

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