Special to WorldTribune.com
Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced on Aug. 1 that he would resign effective Aug. 18.
By Joe Schaeffer
An El Salvador native who said in a speech that he fought U.S. military forces and works for an activist group with reported ties to a communist guerilla organization that killed American soldiers in the 1980s met with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s legislative director last September and then mysteriously popped up repeatedly during campaign season to peg Cantor as a leading foe of congressional immigration reform.
In an odd political game of Where’s Waldo? that played out as Cantor became the first House Majority leader in American history to lose his seat in a party primary, falling to tea party favorite Dave Brat, an activist by the name of Lindolfo Carballo became a familiar figure on the campaign trail, even crashing the election night party of the seven-term Republican incumbent.
Who is Lindolfo Carballo?
Carballo is listed on the aggressively pro-immigration group Casa de Maryland’s website under the heading “Department of Community Organizing” as a “Lead Organizer.”
Also to be found on the group’s website are links such as “Education Materials: Protect Yourself from Immigration Raids” and “Hire Workers.”
Among donors listed in the group’s 2013 annual report posted on the site are Capital One, Citi Community Development, Liberty Mutual Insurance, State Farm Insurance, Wells Fargo, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the United Way Combined Federal Campaign of the National Capital Area, the U.S. Department of Education and even the Internal Revenue Service.
Investigative journalist James Simpson wrote an extensive account of the organization in 2011 titled “Casa de Maryland: The Illegals’ ACORN.” The article was posted on Accuracy in Media’s website.
Under a sub-heading titled “Casa’s Own Communist Guerilla,” Simpson writes that, “Given that many of those fleeing El Salvador in the 1980s were communist guerillas and FMLN supporters, it is not surprising that at least one of them should now be working for CASA. [In March 2011], CASA representative Lindolfo Carballo spoke at a ‘Bring the War Dollars Home’ conference sponsored by Fund Our Communities.”
Video of the speech has been posted on youtube. In it, Carballo says that he “was involved in [the] civil war” in El Salvador and fought “not only the army in my home country, that was armed by this government [meaning the U.S.], but also the army of this country.”
“If true,” Simpson writes, “this admission tags Carballo as a former member of the communist FMLN.”
In a 2009 Newsmax article, Kenneth R. Timmerman quoted J. Michael Waller, a Latin America expert with the Center for Security Policy, as saying, “[t]he FMLN was founded in Havana in 1980 by [Cuban dictator Fidel] Castro to unite five Marxist factions that were fighting each other….
“The group took its name from Farabundo Marti, a Soviet Komintern agent who founded the El Salvadoran Communist Party in the 1930s.”
Waller also ties Casa de Maryland to the FMLN.
“CASA de Maryland is run by people who belonged to a guerilla group that targeted American Marines and soldiers and a U.S. Navy commander for assassination for political purposes,” he says in the article.
Timmerman wrote that among those murdered by the FMLN were Sgt. Gregory Fronius, a military trainer with the 7th Special Forces Group “who was killed in 1987 when the FMLN overran a base in El Paraiso, using intelligence provided by Ana Belen Montes, a Cuban spy in the Defense Intelligence Agency. ”
A youtube poster by the name of Lindolfo Carballo who posted a Casa de Maryland meeting video also has posted a series of videos about a rally to mark the anniversary of an alleged July 30, 1975 massacre of students in El Salvador.
Marchers in the videos are seen waving communist flags, carrying banners adorned with Che Guevera’s iconic visage, and wearing T-shirts and bearing signs adorned with the hammer and sickle.
A man named Lindolfo Carballo having the same “words smashing chains” avatar as can be seen on the youtube video postings also ran a Google newsgroup active as late as 2011 that re-posted articles from Cuba’s official Communist Party news organ Granma.
Fast forward to Sept. 4, 2013, and Carballo is representing Casa de Maryland at a meeting with Cantor legislative director Cort Bush.
Virginia Organizing was another group present at the sitdown with pro-immigration activists. A photo that appears on that organization’s website shows a beaming Carballo posing with Bush and other meeting participants.
Virginia Organizing issued a press release before the meeting that confirms that Carballo’s Casa in Action group would be attending.
Tea party protesters had announced a “Cantor Encounter” rally on that same day. A video posted on youtube shows additional pictures of the meeting and identifies those involved, including Carballo.
Carballo can next be seen in November leading pro-immigration supporters into Cantor’s Washington, D.C.-area condo building in Arlington, Va. for an on-the-spot rally.
The Washington Examiner reported on the incident as well as a second protest at the same condo complex on May 22. The Examiner reports the protesters at the May event “attempted to distribute fliers to residents accusing Cantor of being ‘the one man blocking immigration reform.'”
As the June 10 Republican primary approached, Carballo sightings increased. Given the fact that his opponent Brat was running hard on a much more strident anti-amnesty platform than the incumbent, the timing of the pro-immigration protests against Cantor would on the surface seem to be especially odd.
A youtube video posted in May by Casa de Maryland shows protesters for Casa de Virginia, which describes itself as a “sister organization” of the Maryland group, rallying outside a Cantor fundraiser.
Carballo is front and center at the very beginning of the video, loudly banging a drum as protesters follow his lead.
On May 29, Carballo is once again on the scene at a Richmond press conference held by pro-immigration reform Rep. Luis Guitierrez of Illinois. Cantor critics derided this appearance by the Illinois Democrat in GOP primary battleground territory late in the campaign as an act of political subterfuge meant to boost Cantor.
David Steinberg at PJ Media described how pro-immigration protesters at the press conference again held up signs reading “Eric Cantor: The One Man Blocking Immigration Reform” just as Cantor himself was sending a direct mailer to GOP voters stating “Conservative Republican Eric Cantor Is Stopping the Obama Reid Plan to Give Illegal Aliens Amnesty.”
Steinberg also noted that, despite Guitierrez’s chiding of Cantor for stymieing immigration reform at the press conference, the two congressmen in fact had toured together on behalf of reform one year earlier, with Cantor saying of Guitierrez, “Luis, the leadership you’re providing through thick and thin right now as we try and navigate these very tough political times in choppy waters. My hat is off to you. I’m very grateful.”
Casa de Virginia issued a press release announcing that Guitierrez would be appearing in Richmond along with Carballo and other activists. The eleventh-term House Democrat later posted a picture on his Facebook page from the press conference that shows Carballo nattily attired in a conservative suit and prominently standing next to the congressman at the left of the dais.
Carballo’s final appearance on the Cantor campaign trail came when he led a group of pro-immigration protesters as they broke into the defeated House majority leader’s election night party on June 10 immediately after Cantor had conceded and exited the stage.
Video posted by CBS 6 in Richmond shows Carballo dramatically entering a room containing dejected Cantor supporters and having his glasses knocked off as chaos ensues.
Carballo was interviewed by CBS 6 at the event, saying, “Eric Cantor lost because he was a pretend tea partier…. But voters, faith and business leaders, and more all agree that we need a real leader to end the suffering of our families.”
Carballo can be seen in the video, with and without spectacles, leading yet one more call and response to his band of protesters demanding a congressional vote on immigration reform.
And with that, Eric Cantor’s campaign was over. So too was Lindolfo Carballo’s strangely recurring role in it.