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Who is Elliott Abrams, the man US has appointed to handle Venezuela crisis?


Caracas, Jan 31: The ongoing crisis in the oil-rich Latin American nation of Venezuela has seen discussions around Nicolas Maduro and Juan Guaido and various heads of state. But one man who deserves a full-fledged mention is Elliott Abrams, the US's newly appointed State Department Envoy for the Venezuelan Crisis.

Elliott Abrams

The 71-year-old Abrams, a staunch critic of communism, is at the fag end of a long and controversial career.

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In 1981, Abrams, as the assistant secretary of state for human rights and humanitarian affairs in the Ronald Reagan administration, had covered up a massacre in a village in El Salvadore by a military unit which was trained by the US Army. He was also found pleading guilty at one point of his career of hiding information from the Congress during the Iran-Contra scandal in the mid-1980s.

He though was pardoned by the then president George H W Bush, who passed away recently.

The man has now landed with what could be his last big job in the government and has been assigned with the task of "restoring democracy" in Venezuela and the irony is that Abrams has only been known to crushing it.

Abrams was against Trump's candidacy

In the 1980s when the Cold War was on, Abrams was in charge of the Reagan Administration's tough posturing against communist movements in Central America.

The US had fought proxy wars against the erstwhile Soviet Union and Cuba in a number of countries in the region including Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua, causing massive casualties.

"It broke those societies for a generation or more, and lay the foundations for the migrant crisis Abrams' new boss thinks he can fix with a wall," Venezuela's Caracas Chronicles said.

"It also stopped Cuban-style communism from expanding in Latin America for twenty years, until Fidel figured out a way to crack the Venezuelan riddle. For Abrams, then, Venezuela is a clean-up mission of sorts."

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Abrams of late has been working on the Middle East and did not quite have the links with Latin American affairs but the man's utility lies in the fact that he can make use of the power, especially military, to get things done brutally and precisely.

He was the brain who saw the US administration in the 1980s distancing itself from Chile's General Pinochet and ultimately the dictator's ouster in a referendum that had American support.

Abrams though was not in the good book of the current US administration in the beginning. He was one of those Republicans who had opposed the presidential ambition of Donald Trump and wasn't allowed when former secretary of state Rex Tillerson wanted to appoint him as a senior official of his department, the Chronicles reported.

It was Tillerson's successor and the current state secretary Mike Pompeo who used his clout in the administration to get Abrams on board.

Abrams has now got a project in his hand that he suits his preferences and he usually doesn't mess around.

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