US special envoy for Venezuela has long, controversial history in Latin America

Elliott Abrams, seen here in 2011, will be responsible for leading the US effort in Venezuela, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

(CNN)The Trump administration's new special envoy on the Venezuelan political crisis is well known in Latin American circles -- from his guilty plea for withholding information about the Iran-Contra affair to his attempt to discredit accounts of the massacre of nearly 1,000 people by a US-trained military battalion in El Salvador.

Elliott Abrams, a neoconservative Republican insider, was named by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week to direct all aspects of the American campaign to replace Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Abrams, described by Pompeo as a "seasoned, principled and tough-minded foreign policy veteran," accompanied the secretary of state Saturday to urge the United Nations Security Council to recognize Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president.
    "This crisis in Venezuela is deep and difficult and dangerous, and I can't wait to get to work on it," Abrams said after his appointment on Friday, noting that he left the State Department 30 years ago this week.
      Pompeo warmly welcomed him back, saying Abrams' "passion for the rights and liberties of all peoples makes him a perfect fit and valuable and timely addition" to the State Department team.