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Russia bans former Radio and Televisión Martí director, ADN America adviser

Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, a former senior adviser and director to Radío and Televisíon Martí was among 500 Americans including U.S. officials, president, members of Congress and American journalists

Russia bans former Radio and Televisión Martí director, Jeffrey Scott Shapiro
Russia bans former Radio and Televisión Martí director, Jeffrey Scott Shapiro | Shutterstock & Facebook Jeffrey Shapiro

May 21, 2023 3:26pm

Updated: May 26, 2023 9:18pm

Among the 500 Americans the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs banned on Friday was a name that may resonate in the Cuban community, both on the island and in Miami.

Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, who served as a Trump administration appointed official at Miami’s Radio and Televisión Martí from 2017-2021 was named as #467 on a list of 500 Americans it banned from entering the country in response to western sanctions amid its invasion of Ukraine.

Radio and Televisión Martí is the federal news network that broadcasts news to Cuba along with its sister network, Voice of America as part of the U.S. Agency for Global Media. Shapiro, a former District of Columbia prosecutor, currently serves as a Washington Times editorial board member and adviser to the English page for ADN America.

“There are any number of stories or columns from the past decade that may have upset them,” Shapiro told ADN America. “It’s difficult to pinpoint one in particular, since there have been many, especially since Moscow illegally invaded Ukraine.”

While the list of those banned includes members of the Biden administration, Congress, and “the heads of military-industrial complex companies that supply weapons to the regime in Kiev,” it also included American journalists and entertainers Moscow accused those sanctioned of “spreading” so-called “Russophobic” sentiment.

Among those in the public eye who have ostensibly been a thorn in the Kremlin’s side were CNN's Erin Burnett, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, and even comedians Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel.

In a May 20 article on the development, the Washington Times described Shapiro as a “vocal critic of Moscow” who last year “warned the Kremlin is injecting the pro-war “Z” symbol into the nation’s culture, making it the “new Swastika.’”

He told ADN America he started covering Russia in London in 2013 while investigating the Kremlin sponsored assassination of former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko. In 2014, Shapiro described Litvinenko as a “tragic Russian patriot.”

Shapiro conducted Washington Times interviews with Russian diplomats inside their Washington, D.C. based embassy from 2014-2016 about Moscow’s Roscosmos Federal Space Agency, Russian aerospace capability and rocket engine technology, and eventually the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya.

In an April 2022 Wall Street Journal op-ed titled, “The Right’s Russia Temptation,” Shapiro warned the Kremlin was using nationalism to promote its anti-Ukraine message to the America First movement.

“Some of my former colleagues buy into Mr. Putin’s false narratives because they mistake him for a Russian Donald Trump—a strong nationalist leader who fights woke ideas. But the war against Ukraine hasn’t benefited Russians, and Mr. Putin is a ruthless dictator with contempt for human life, including his countrymen.

"The Russian opposition he represses is “liberal” not in the sense of being leftist but of favoring freedom. His opposition to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization isn’t anti-globalist but anti-Western and anti-American,” Shapiro wrote.

In Shapiro’s two most recent Times’ columns, he called for the release of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and former U.S. Marine Paul Wheelan.

“The kidnapping of Americans has become a lucrative negotiating chip for Russia and other authoritarian regimes,” Shapiro told ADN America.

Following ADN America’s coverage of those cases along with Venezuela’s kidnapping of Los Angeles lawyer Eyvin Alexis Hernández, Shapiro penned a follow up for the Washington Times titled “Kidnapped by Maduro” in which he suggested Americans needed to begin taking extra precautions when traveling to areas in or near authoritarian countries.

While the U.S. appears to be working diligently to facilitate release of these Americans, their cases should serve as a warning to other Americans, that even when they do their best to respect the rule of law, the governments of the countries they visit may not do the same,” Shapiro wrote.