Pompeo names hawkish GOP veteran to run Venezuela policy

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has named a hawkish former Republican official to handle U.S. policy toward Venezuela.

The appointment of Elliot Abrams follows the Trump administration’s decision this week to recognize the leader of Venezuela’s parliament as the country’s legitimate leader and call for President Nicolas Maduro to step down. Abrams served in top White House and State Department jobs under all Republican presidents since Ronald Reagan. He was considered for deputy secretary of state after President Donald Trump’s election but was reportedly rejected over alleged criticism he made of Trump.

In his previous government roles, Abrams was known as a hawk on Latin America and played a role in the Iran-Contra affair. He was convicted of withholding information from Congress during the Iran-Contra investigation but later pardoned.

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