Charles S. Shapiro

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Charles Samuel Shapiro (born May 30[citation needed] 1949)[1] is an American diplomat (serving since 1977 in a variety of capacities, primarily relating to Latin America) and a former U.S. ambassador to Venezuela (2002 - 2004). He was President of the Institute of the Americas since October 2011 until July 2014, when Ambassador Shapiro was named the President of the World Affairs Council of Atlanta. [2][3][4][5]


Shapiro has degrees from the University of Pennsylvania (1971) and Georgia State University (1977), and served in the United States Coast Guard Reserve (1971–1977).[6] His career includes assignments abroad, including Deputy Chief of Mission in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago (1991-1994) and in Santiago, Chile (1995–1998). From 1983 to 1988, Shapiro worked on El Salvador, first as Desk Officer in Washington (1983–1985) and then as Political Counselor in San Salvador (1985–1988).[1]

In Washington, Shapiro has served in a number of capacities in the US State Department's Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (called the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs until 2000): Deputy Director in the Office of Andean Affairs (1988–1990); Executive Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs (1994–1995); Coordinator for Cuban Affairs (1999–2001);[1] Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary (2005–2007); head of the Western Hemisphere Trade Task Force (2007–2009); and Senior Coordinator for Economic Initiatives.[7] Other assignments include "Division Chief for South America" in the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (then called the Bureau of International Narcotics Matters), 1990–1991.[1]

Shapiro served as U.S. ambassador to Venezuela from 19 March 2002 to 21 August 2004. Shapiro is widely accused of participating in the April 2002 coup d'état, citing a meeting with interim president Pedro Carmona Estanga one day after the coup.[8] Shapiro and other U.S. sources have denied this and claim that he urged Carmona to reinstitute the dissolved national assembly.[8] Carmona denies Shapiro did any such thing.

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Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Donna Hrinak
United States Ambassador to Venezuela
19 March 2002 – 21 August 2004
Succeeded by
William Brownfield