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Cardinal Dolan, Bain Capital, and Archbishop Romero

Originally posted at Talk to Action.

The Republican Party is putting a Catholic face on the kick off of the Romney-Ryan campaign for the White House.  The face is none other than Cardinal Timothy Dolan, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops who will give the closing prayer at the Republican convention in Tampa.

While Dolan’s appearance broadly implies that  he supports Romney’s candidacy, it serves as a distraction from something the Republicans would rather we not know; or if we do, forget; and for those of us who will never forget, help ensure that we are never heard.  Thirty years ago Mitt Romney sought the financial backing of those who bankrolled the murder of priests, nuns and an archbishop.

When we see the face of Timothy Dolan at the GOP presidential nominating convention, there are other faces we also need to see:


These are the faces of four Catholic nuns murdered by El Salvadoran right-wing death squads in 1982.

And these:
The the faces of six Jesuit priests and two of their young assistants murdered by similar thugs.

And finally this face:

Archbishop Oscar Romero, who simply called for an end to the senseless killing.

These other Catholic faces are the faces of Catholicism at its very best: seeking justice for and reaching out to the marginalized with love and compassion.

But as Cole Stangler and Ryan Grimm recently reported for the Huffington Post when Mitt Romney sought start-up funds for Bain Capital, he went to the people who most benefited from, and perhaps most responsible for their murder.

In 1983, Bill Bain asked Mitt Romney to launch Bain Capital, a private equity offshoot of the successful consulting firm Bain & Company. After some initial reluctance, Romney agreed. The new job came with a stipulation: Romney couldn’t raise money from any current clients, Bain said, because if the private equity venture failed, he didn’t want it taking the consulting firm down with it.

When Romney struggled to raise funds from other traditional sources, he and his partners started thinking outside the box. Bain executive Harry Strachan suggested that Romney meet with a group of Central American oligarchs who were looking for new investment vehicles as turmoil engulfed their region.

The GOP presidential contender cannot, however, plead ignorance of his backers’ unsavory past:

Romney was worried that the oligarchs might be tied to “illegal drug money, right-wing death squads, or left-wing terrorism,” Strachan later told a Boston Globe reporter, as quoted in the 2012 book “The Real Romney.”  But, pressed for capital, Romney pushed his concerns aside and flew to Miami in mid-1984 to meet with the Salvadorans at a local bank.

As Stangler and Grim further reported, “The Central Americans provided roughly $9 million — 40 percent — of Bain Capital’s initial outside funding” adding, “they became valued clients.”

Prominent among these “valued clients” were members of the Salaverria family whose connections to the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA), founded by death-squad leader Roberto D’Aubuisson were established not only by Stangler and Grim, but by The Boston Globe and Los Angeles Times.

Before their execution, the four Maryknoll sisters were raped and tortured. Their bodies were then buried in a shallow grave. The six Jesuits were also tortured before they were murdered and left in the courtyard of their residence to serve as a warning to others who dared speak out against injustice and violence. Archbishop Romero was gunned down while saying Mass.

Cardinal Dolan and those on the Catholic Right who now bless the Romney campaign are depending on our forgetting the faces of the victims of Mitt Romney’s original investors.