Trouble is brewing in the deep-blue state of Maryland, where Democratic state senators are discovering that—gasp!—an “immigrant advocacy” group they have coddled for decades is really full of Hamas supporters who compare Palestinian terrorists to the experience of Hispanics in the Old Line State.
The group is CASA de Maryland. State lawmakers have been forcing weary taxpayers to underwrite this far-left group since it was first incorporated in Maryland’s radical chic neighborhood of Takoma Park in 1985.
The Washington Post reported as far back as 2011 that “nearly half of CASA’s $6 million budget comes from local, state, and federal appropriations.” A reason for that is, as the Post put it, it successfully sells itself as an “immigrants’ rights” lobbying group.
That the people CASA de Maryland represents are mostly not immigrants at all, but illegal aliens who have willfully broken the law didn’t bother reliably lefty voters in tony Montgomery County, where many of the denizens of the federal permanent bureaucracy and the nation’s media and academic elite sleep, play, and more importantly, vote.
But just as CASA has moved out of its original modest Takoma Park church basement and is now headquartered in multimillion-dollar Langley Mansion, a former plantation restored to the tune of $13.8 million in nearby Langley Park (a rehab that the Post reported was partly footed by taxpayers), the organization’s political reach has expanded.
It is now, according to its website, a nationwide community organizing giant. “With over 155,000 lifetime members across 46 U.S. states, CASA is a national powerhouse organization building power and improving the quality of life in working-class: Black, Latino/a/e, Afro-descendent, Indigenous, and Immigrant communities.”
Things were going swimmingly well until this comfy status quo was shattered, as many things have been in America, by Hamas’ massacre of Israeli civilians and the gang-rape of Jewish women on Oct. 7. The fascination that the “woke” Left has shown for the terrorists (a Cornell professor said he was “exhilarated” by the killing spree) has shocked old-fashioned liberals. They are now suddenly finding it hard to overlook some tough realities.
Enter CASA, which chose to make clear on which side it belongs when its longtime executive director, Gustavo Torres, stated in a since-deleted post on X that “CASA stands in resolute and steadfast solidarity with the people of Palestine in their relentless fight for freedom. We stand shoulder to shoulder with countless Black and brown freedom activists from around the world. We specifically condemn the utilization of U.S. tax dollars to promote the ongoing violence.”
“We deeply acknowledge the interconnectedness of the struggle for the liberation of the Palestinian people and Black and brown communities in the United States,” Torres added.
That set off all nine state senators from Montgomery County, who issued a letter that did not mince words. The statements by CASA and Torres, the senators’ letter said, “are hurtful, divisive, and antisemitic. It reflects a complete lack of understanding of the complex geopolitics of the Middle East, the indigenous roots of the Jewish people, and the long and painful history of antisemitism in its myriad forms.”
More to the point, the senators reminded Torres, “We have provided CASA with millions of taxpayer dollars intended to support our new Americans and help provide them with necessities and shelter.”
Then came the kicker: “We cannot and will not allow taxpayer money to subsidize hate speech. In light of CASA’s recent postings and statements, this might be an appropriate time to reevaluate the state’s mechanism for providing financial aid and support to our immigrant community.”
Clearly terrified that Maryland may withdraw its taxpayer teat, Torres has tried to backpedal as fast as he can, dignity be damned. “I want to profoundly apologize to the Jewish community in Montgomery County and beyond,” Torres told MoCo360. “We were not experts on this [crisis], and members of the Jewish community have been educating me.”
On X, CASA said, “We write to acknowledge that our words have caused hurt.” CASA, it said, is working to “refine our message and clarify our values.” Torres pleaded further, “We will do whatever is necessary to repair these relationships. We want to apologize not only with words, but actions.”
Boy, what the threatened withdrawal of millions will do.
But apparently, the unseemly retreat is to no avail. Democratic state Sen. Cheryl Kagan said, “It’s unforgivable, and I choose my words carefully. It doesn’t matter if [Torres] says ‘I’m sorry’ 10 times. I cannot forgive statements that essentially say he wants to murder my people. It’s not OK.”
Torres’ words of regret do indeed beggar belief. He and CASA are hardly new to revolutionary struggle.
“Casa” is Spanish for home, but CASA is an acronym for the Central America Solidarity Association. The group has since registered under “CASA” to, as former Reagan official James Simpson put it in 2012, obscure any links with other “solidarity committees” set up in the 1980s to lobby for the Marxist guerrillas in El Salvador, which were funded and guided by the Soviets and the Cubans.
The Colombian-born Torres earned his chops in Marxist Nicaragua, where he worked for a newspaper that was a mouthpiece for the Sandinista regime, according to the always reliable Influence Watch.
Later, Torres popped up in Venezuela, where, according to The Militant, he spoke at a 2007 panel titled “United States: A Possible Revolution.” His co-panelist, Antonio Gonzalez, said, “What does a revolutionary do in the U.S. today? Take power wherever you can by electing Latinos to city, state, and federal offices.” Later, Citgo Petroleum, which Venezuela’s Marxist government uses as its piggy bank, gave CASA $1.5 million.
Many in the audience said that wouldn’t work, chiding Hispanics for buying into the “American dream” and not pursuing social and political change. But one of CASA’s beliefs under Torres is that Central Americans immigrate because the U.S. destabilizes its region and that their mass immigration, in return, will change the U.S.
All this was known prior to Oct. 7.
Originally published by WashingtonExaminer.com
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