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Long time Latino and Democratic Party activist Edwin Vargas, Jr. has announced a bid for the Hartford Connecticut mayoralty.
One of several announced candidates for the November election, Vargas, who currently serves on Hartford’s planning and zoning commission, must be considered a strong contender.
Vargas’ activist roots go back to 1971 when Hartford Connecticut received an influx of 30 Puerto Rican university students, who came to the city to teach and study – many, including Edwin Vargas, were active members of the pro Cuban, and staunchly Marxist-Leninist Puerto Rican Socialist Party.
Edwin Vargas, sold copies of the party’s newspaper, “Claridad”, on street corners. Soon he was president of the party’s Hartford chapter, which he led with friend and comrade Jose LaLuz.
Vargas and LaLuz were expelled from the P.R.S.P. during a faction fight in the late 1970s. Soon they were both active in the U.S.’s largest Marxist organization, Democratic Socialists of America. Vargas was a vice chair of D.S.A. in 1984.
In the early 1980s, Vargas and LaLuz were both also affiliated to the Communist Party USA front U.S. Peace Council, an affiliate of the Soviet front World Peace Council.
Most of Vargas’ career has been spent in teaching. He has been active within the American Federation of Teachers, including as a member of the union’s K through 12 Program and Policy Committee.
Vargas has also served as President of the Greater Hartford Labor Council AFL-CIO, President of the Puerto Rican PAC, President of the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights, and for five years as an official advisor to the Governor of Puerto Rico on issues affecting the U. S. – based Puerto Rican Community
Like most DSAers Vargas is active in the Democratic Party. He has served as the Hartford Democratic Party Chair, and as a member of the National Democratic Party’s Credentials Committee.
Vargas has has held positions of responsibility on many major Democratic campaigns, including those of Ted Kennedy, Ned Lamont, Chris Dodd, and Barack Obama.
In 2008, Edwin Vargas served as Chairman of Connecticut Latinos for Obama, while his old comrade Jose LaLuz was chairman of the national organization. The Connecticut Democratic primary was the first in which large numbers of Latinos voted for Obama – a decisive moment which started to give Barack Obama an edge over the Latino favored Hillary Clinton.
|Vargas with Hartford City Councilors at a 2008 Obama event|
Vargas’ team saturated Hartford’s Latino community with a localized flyer that focused on the themes of health care and immigration. They also distributed a flyer featuring Obama’s story of how he came to embrace Christianity.
According to team member Joey Rodriguez,
“We went out on Sundays and tried to flood as many churches as possible…from putting flyers on the windshields of cars to actually speaking to individuals walking out of church, to let them know where we stand as Hispanic leaders, and where we stand as far as endorsing a presidential candidate.”
Today Edwin Vargas, Jr. claims to be a “social democrat” who believes in the free market with a certain amount of “regulation”.
Where have we heard that kind of talk before?
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