DENVER (CBS4) – A Denver restaurateur who turned down a campaign visit from Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney says he’s now getting death threats.
Denver police have been on close patrol of Rosa Linda’s Mexican Cafe in the Highlands neighborhood since news came out about a decision they made over the summer.
Oscar Aguirre runs Rosa Linda’s and his parents own it. He told CBS4 a member of Romney’s campaign contacted the restaurant in August.
“The way he presented it to us was because we’re Latinos, we’re Mormon, we’re a small business, what a great venue to host a political presidential campaign stop.”
“Did he ask to come and eat here or just to do a political stop?” CBS4′s Jodi Brooks asked Aguirre.
“Be a political stop,” he said.
The family huddled in the kitchen and made a decision.
“We said No because, Mom said, we’re not Republicans, we’re not going to be a political campaign stop,” Aguirre said.
This week when Mitt Romney dined at the Chipolte in Denver’s Stapleton neighborhood in advance of the the presidential debate at the University of Denver, Westword ran the story about Rosa Linda’s decision. And once it was online, word spread.
Since Wednesday more than 500 emails have come in, and most are not nice. Also, the phone hasn’t stopped ringing.
Aguirre played a voicemail from one irate caller for CBS4. The man on the other end of the phone said “Just want to let you know we will no longer be doing business with you.”
Aguirre says all they wanted was not be a political platform, for anyone.
“Obama, or anybody else wants to hold a political stop here, we’re not here for that. I’ll say no,” Aguirre said.
It’s a restaurant that just wanted to stay out of the political spotlight.
“All I said was ‘No thank you,’ ” Aguirre said.
“It’s personal now isn’t it?” Brooks asked Aguirre.
“Yeah. It is when I get a phone call and they say ‘I know where you live. I’m going to get you. Watch your back.”
Aguirre just wants things to get back to being business as usual, but with the bad has also come some good. The initial Westword article mentioned that Rosa Linda’s hosts an annual Thanksgiving dinner which feeds 5,500 people in need.
Donations are now coming in for that, and so are some new customers.