Elliot Abrams : BY MARIO ALEXIS PORTELLA
Elliot Abrams : It has been nearly two weeks since the failed coup-attempt against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro plotted by a handful of mercerarniers and U.S. ex-Green Berets took place—former U.S. Green Beret Jordan Goudreau, who had served had served in both the Canadian and U.S. militaries and now runs the Silvercorp USA security firm in Florida, claimed he masterminded this blunder.
Notwithstanding denials by the Trump administration that in had anything to do with the botched-up operation, the U.S. government’s fingerprints all over this because of its special envoy Elliott Abrams.
Elliot Abrams , named by Secretary in January 2019 as America’s Special Repesentative for Venezuela, was given “responsibility for all things related to our efforts to restore democracy” in the oil-rich nation. In other words, he was given the task to steer the Trump administration’s slow-burn effort to topple Maduro in favor of the social-democratic Juan Guaidó, whom the U.S. recognizes as Venezuela’s legitimate leader.
Elliot Abrams had served as Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs under the Reagan administration. However, while in that position, he designed clandestine operations that were nothing more than deceptions and an endorsement of human rights violations by the puppets he micromanaged.
Elliot Abrams : Some of Abrams’ criminal activities
- Covering up for the 1981 Massacre in El Salvador — In President Ronald Reagan’s fight against Communism and Soviet-backed governments, the U.S. increased military aid and sent Special Forces instructors to El Salvador. At that time, dissenting El Salvadorian soldiers were fighting the leftist guerrillas of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front. The American-backed fighters, whom Abrams oversaw, killed almost 1,000 people in the largest single massacre in recent Latin American history. Before murdering the women and girls, the soldiers raped them repeatedly, including some as young as ten years old, and joked that their favorites were the twelve-year-olds. One witness described a soldier tossing a three-year-old child into the air and impaling him with his bayonet. Abrams told the U.S. Senate, that such reports were “not credible,” and the whole thing was being “significantly misused” as propaganda by anti-government guerillas.
- Support for the Contras in Nicaragua — The Contras were a U.S.-backed and funded right-wing rebel group in Nicaragua (1979 to the early 1990s) in opposition to the socialist Saninista Junta. Abrams a key figure in what became known as the Iran-Contra scandal, used humanitarian aid flights to smuggle weapons to the Contras. Yet he looked the other way as the Contras terrorized civilians throughout the 1980s, cutting a swath of torture, rape and murder aimed at everyone from the elderly to children. They would have floundered and faded away were it not for the tens of millions of dollars Abrams helped funnel to them, including personally soliciting $10 million from the Sultan of Brunei for their cause (that money never made it because Abrams gave the Sultan the wrong account number).
Appearing on the ABC News Nightline in February 1985, Elliot Abrams denied that the El Salvadorian massacres took place. Asked whether the U.S. embassy had conducted an investigation, he replied, “My memory is that we did, but I don’t want to swear to it because I’d have to go back and look at the cables.” In 1986, when asked by the Senate Intelligence Committee if he had discussed fundraising for the Contras with anyone on the National Security Council, he likewise claimed forgetfulness—five years later Abrams pled guilty to lying to Congress about the America’s role in those two fiascos, but he was later pardoned by then-President George W. Bush.
- Justifying Genocide in Guatemala — After the CIA under the Eisenhower administration engienered the overthrow of Guatemala’s democratically elected president Jacobo Arbenz in 1954, the country descended into a nightmare of revolving military dictatorships. Between 1960 and 1996, Guatemala was caught in “civil war” as 200,000 Guatemalans were killed. Efraín Ríos Montt, who served as Guatemala’s president in the early 1980s, was found guilty in 2013, by Guatemala’s own justice system, of committing genocide against the country’s indigenous Mayans. During Montt’s administration, Abrams called for the lifting of an embargo on U.S. arms shipments to Guatemala, claiming that Ríos Montt had “brought considerable progress.” The U.S. had to support the Guatemalan government, Abrams argued, because “if we take the attitude ‘don’t come to us until you’re perfect, we’re going to walk away from this problem until Guatemala has a perfect human rights record,’ then we’re going to be leaving in the lurch people there who are trying to make progress.”
Ever since Elliot Abrams took the helm, U.S. rhetoric and actions towards Venezuela are constantly “escalating.” Washington has placed bounties on the heads of President Nicolás Maduro and a dozen current and former Venezuelan officials. In addition, the Pentagon deployed the largest fleet ever to the Southern Hemisphere.
Meanwhile, Elliot Abrams announced the Democratic Transition Framework for Venezuela, which calls on Maduro’s government to embrace a power-sharing deal. Barbara Boland, The American Conservative foreign policy reporter, sarcastically explained that the plan does not mention how Venezuelan leaders with bounties on their heads are supposed to come to the table and negotiate with Juan Guaidó.
Why is Elliot Abrams on board?
The irony in Trump’s appointment of Abrams is that he was an “anti-Trump” Republican who signed a letter opposing his candidacy in 2016. Not to mention, in complete contradiction to the president’s anti-immigration policy, Abrams prevailed in granting special immigration status for approximately 70,000 Venezuelans residing illegally in the U.S. as a way to support the Venezuelan people and pressure Maduro to resign—as if this would make the Venezuelan president lose any sleep.
Why then has Trump agreed to Elliot Abrams directing operations in Venezuela given his past criminal actives? It is not necessarily because Maduro has introduced nothing but austerity in his country. It is, rather, Venezuela has oil and Maduro is not playing ball with the U.S. government. Given Abrams’s iniquitous experience in Latin America, perhaps the White House though he could orchestrate President Maduro’s demise, thereby exploiting the Venezuela’s oil by inserting Juan Guaidó as a puppet.
Elliot Abrams : Turning the swamp into a skating rink
Let us not forget that a Venezuelan state-owned oil company, heavily indebted to the Russian oil giant Rosneft, made a $500,000 donation to Donald Trump’s inauguration festivities, despite U.S. federal law prohibiting such foreign donations. The Venezuelan company, PdVSA, made the donation through a U.S. affiliate, Citgo Petrol, soon after offering a nearly 50% stake in Citgo to Rosneft as collateral for a $1.5 billion loan—former oil executive Rex Tillerson, who became Trump’s Secretary of State, tried to lift sanctions imposed on Moscow by the Obama administration for its cyberattacks aimed at interfering with the 2016 the presidential campaign; apparently Trump prepared executive orders relaxing Russian sanctions but was ultimately persuaded not to take action by congressional Republicans and European allies.
I am all for Nicolás Maduro to be deposed as Venezuela’s president, yet Juan Guaidó is ideologically equally as bad—his Popular Will Party is one of four parties in Venezuela that belong to the global left-wing institution. That aside, while it may be too early to prove Elliot Abrams had anything to do with the failed coup operation against Maduro, given his past activity in Latin America, it does at least make one wonder.
President Trump promised to “drain the swamp.” However, having Elliot Abrams as part of his team not only implicates Trump in unethical behavior, but it also turns the swamp into a skating rink.
Mario Alexis Portella is a priest of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Florence, Italy. He has a doctorate in canon law and civil law from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome; he also holds a M. A. in Medieval History from Fordham University, as well as a B.A. in Government & Politics from St. John’s University. He is author of Islam: Religion of Peace – The Violation of Natural Rights and Western Cover-Up.