Help stop the nomination of Elliott Abrams to the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy! Email your representatives!

Guatemalan military occupy a Maya Quiché village in the 1980s. Elliott Abrams was a defender of the genocidal policies of Guatemalan President Efraín Montt. (Photo: Jean-Marie Simon)

Biden nominates genocide supporter to diplomacy panel!

President Joe Biden announced on July 3 that he would nominate Elliott Abrams to a position on the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. Abrams was a supporter of the worst human rights violations in Central America in the 1980s and has been guilty of similar human rights abuses since.

Why should we oppose this nomination?

Elliott Abrams’ record in Central America: In 1981, Elliott Abrams, as assistant secretary of state for human rights, defended the massacre at El Mozote in El Salvador where the U.S.-trained-and-equipped Salvadoran military killed as many as 1,000 civilians. He defended the infamous Guatemalan general and President Efraín Ríos Montt, responsible for the worst of the Mayan genocide, and he advocated for the resumption of military aid to that country. Abrams supported Oliver North’s illegal campaign in the 1980s to raise money for the murderous contras attempting to overthrow the revolutionary government of Nicaragua. He pleaded guilty in 1991 to two offenses of lying to Congress during the Iran-Contra investigations after falsely denying having knowledge of North’s efforts.

And in Venezuela: More recently Abrams served as the U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela from 2019 to 2021 where he was tasked with directing the campaign to replace legitimately elected President Nicolas Maduro with Juan Guaidó. Earlier, in 2002, it was Abrams who, as President George W. Bush’s global democracy strategy adviser, reportedly gave the nod of approval from the U.S. for the attempted coup against President Hugo Chavez.

And the Middle East: Abrams also served as the U.S. Special Representative for Iran from 2020 to 2021 where what Abrams himself has called a “maximum pressure sanctions program” has brought untold suffering to Iran’s people. Abrams supported the war in Iraq and opposed the Iran nuclear deal. He repeatedly undercut any U.S. pressure on Israel to stop the building of settlements in the occupied territories.

Common Dreams quoted Slate journalist Alex Sammon as stating that, “Elliott Abrams, enemy of human rights, apologist for mass murder, should have no place within spitting distance of any Democratic administration in any capacity.”

This nomination must be withdrawn by the President or stopped in the Senate!

 Please write with urgency to President Joe Biden! 

Elliott Abrams’ nomination must be approved by the Senate!

 Please also write to your Senators asking them to oppose the nomination. Senators can hold up this nomination and even stop it. 

The nomination will likely come before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Check this list of Committee members to see if your Senator is on the Committee: Enough opposition at the committee level can stop the nomination from going to the Senate floor. So, if your Senator is a member of the committee, give him or her a call as a back-up to your written message. The Capitol switchboard number is: (202) 224-3121.

For more background material:

To find material to support your letters and calls, consult this Common Dreams article. This CNN article has some great links with information about Abrams’ Central America years. To learn more about his involvement in the Iran-Contra Affair and illegal aid to the contras, you can take a look at Chapter 25 of the Final report of the Independent Counsel for Iran/Contra Matters. Also, this document from Brown University is good. For more information on Abrams and the El Mozote massacre, read this Morning Star article. Then, on his appointment as special representative for Venezuela, these pieces from The Intercept and from CNN are good. Read this article delineating 12 reasons why Elliott Abrams should be tried by the International Criminal Court.