DENVER — When the owners of a Denver Mexican restaurant turned down an offer to host a Mitt Romney campaign stop, they never envisioned their lives would be threatening because of it.
But Oscar Aguirre said that’s exactly what has happened.
Aguirre owns Rosa Linda’s Mexican Cafe, which is located in the heart of Denver’s Highland neighborhood at 2005 West 33rd Avenue, with his parents. He said the Romney campaign reached out to his restaurant in August at least partly due to the fact that his parents are Mormon.
The threats, Aguirre said, began coming in after a story that published in the Westword, in which Aguirre said his parents have served Barack Obama at catered events, have received a thank you note from the President and would gladly host him at their physical location.
Aguirre reached out on the restaurant’s Facebook page to add a qualification to that story, saying his family is not Democrat or Republican.
“We will welcome any sitting President of the United States,” Aguirre said. “We did not want to be a campaign stopping place.”
That, according to Aguirre, is what the Romney campaign wanted to make his family’s restaurant. Apparently Romney was interested in hosting events at Rosa Linda’s, not in simply eating there.
“It was presented to us that he (Romney) wanted to do a political stump here,” Aguirre wrote. “Because we are small business owners, share religious views with the candidate and are Latinos, (the campaign said) it would be great for him to do a campaign stop (at our restaurant).”
When Rosa Linda’s went public with its desire to stay out of the political realm, Aguirre said the hate mail starting pouring in.
“We have been getting hate emails from people across the country, people sending us death threats and people calling us telling us we are racist,” Aguirre wrote. “That they hope we go out of business.”
In an effort to “stop the hate,” Aguirre invited any and all critics to join in a “family meal” at Rosa Linda’s.
“We may not be your cup of tea but we still welcome anybody with open arms,” Aguirre wrote.
Perhaps in lieu of the refusal by Rosa Linda’s, Romney ended up eating at Chipotle, another Denver-based Mexican restaurant, before the presidential debate in Denver on Wednesday.