Venezuela Program Director

Washington Office on Latin America
  • Location
    Washington, D.C.
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    Feb 27

Position description

The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) is a leading research and advocacy organization advancing human rights in the Americas. We envision a future where public policies protect human rights and recognize human dignity. We create strategic partnerships with courageous people making social change: advocacy organizations, academics, religious and business leaders, artists, and government officials. We are passionate about our work and strive to make our organization a healthy and safe space for all to work and feel appreciated. WOLA supports our staff with a culture of innovation, collaboration, understanding, and integrity. 

Our Venezuela program works to advance human rights and a peaceful, democratic and just solution to the country’s deep political and humanitarian crisis. We partner with allies across Venezuelan civil society in order to shape the international response to the crisis, with an emphasis on advancing political agreements that can restore the fundamental political, civil, economic, and social rights of the Venezuelan people, as well as victims’ rights to truth, justice, reparations, and guarantees of non-repetition. We also work with human rights defenders in Venezuela and across the region in order to raise awareness of the situation in Venezuela and to push back against persecution and restrictions of civic space. 


Your role:

This role will lead and manage WOLA’s work on Venezuela. They will lead the direction, research, and advocacy of the program while engaging the U.S. policy-making and international community, providing timely written analysis, developing media and public outreach strategies in coordination with our communications team, supporting fundraising with the development team, and working in collaboration with counterpart organizations in the U.S., Venezuela, and across the hemisphere. The candidate should understand U.S. foreign policy making toward Latin America, as well as knowledge of human right conditions and civil society in Venezuela. They will contribute to staff-wide discussions and initiatives on the major human rights and social justice challenges in the region, and on WOLA’s strategies and priorities in responding to them. They should have initiative, excellent problem-solving skills, and the ability to communicate effectively in both English and Spanish.

Reports to: Vice President for Programs                                                                                                                                                                                                  Supervises: Program Assistant and at least 1 intern a year


Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Plan and lead research and U.S. policy advocacy; including developing and carrying out education and advocacy efforts aimed at shaping the policy decisions made by key policymakers in the U.S. Congress and the administration, as well as those of Venezuelan political actors and donors engaged in the region.
  • Liaise with coalitions of Venezuelan human rights defenders on a range of issues, including electoral conditions, gender justice, migration, and the UN. 
  • Work with a core group of leading Venezuelan civil society actors to ensure a human rights focus in ongoing and future efforts to advance political dialogue in the country, as well as to broaden opportunities for civil society consultation in such dialogue.
  • Monitor trends and developments on human rights in Venezuela, as well as the foreign policy towards Venezuela of the U.S., European Union, and Latin American governments.
  • Draft and execute an annual programmatic plan and corresponding budget, while managing a small team.
  • Lead research projects and prepare opinion articles, briefs, memos, commentary pieces, podcasts,blog posts, and other written materials as appropriate.
  • Work with the communications team to issue WOLA statements, media advisories, press releases, joint statements, and social media content that correspond with the program’s advocacy strategy and human rights developments on the ground.
  • Travel to Venezuela to meet with civil society partners, diplomats, political actors, and other stakeholders relevant to WOLA’s work. 
  • Work with the development team to participate in fundraising activities including but not limited to: speaking to prospective or current donors, attending donor events, and contributing to proposal and report writing.
  • Represent WOLA in public forums to coordinate and execute events, conferences, delegations, seminars, online events, and other meetings as appropriate nationally and internationally.
  • Participate in and contribute to staff-wide discussions about the challenges in the region, annual planning, institutional advocacy efforts, and other institutional responsibilities as determined by the Vice President for Programs and the President.  
  • Oversee, manage, and mentor a program assistant. Coordinate with a WOLA Senior Fellow and the Program Director for the Andes.
  • Other tasks as assigned and needed.  


Qualifications: Note: We view this section as a guide, not a checklist. We encourage you to apply even if you don’t satisfy every bullet on this list. The ideal candidate must align with our values

·       Full written and spoken fluency in English and a minimum of advanced Spanish. 

·       At least 8 years of commitment and experience on issues related to human rights, social justice, democracy, pushing back against authoritarianism, and/or the closure of civic space. 

·       Experience in U.S. foreign policy advocacy, congressional relations, and/or government affairs.

·       Full written and spoken fluency in English and Spanish. 

·       A demonstrated ability to engage with multiple stakeholders in complex, polarized political environments.

·       Willingness and ability to travel to Venezuela, as well as to other countries in the Americas and Europe as needed.

·       Familiarity with U.S. policy toward Latin America, as well as an ability to analyze policy and legislation through a human rights and social justice lens. 

·       Strong analytical, writing, and public speaking skills are required, both in English and Spanish. 

·       Supervisory and management experience. 

·       High level of initiative as well as the ability to work in a team and with international coalitions.

·       Additional job requirements: some overseas travel required; some long hours and weekend work occasionally required. 

·       Office Culture: Our office setting is flexible and hybrid, meaning you must be in the greater DMV area for advocacy purposes; however, you are not required to work from the office daily. Staff are encouraged to go in 1-2 days a week based on their tasks and program needs. There will be meetings and events that require your in-person attendance.

Salary: Starting salary of $90,000-$95,000, dependent on years of previous experience. Benefits include platinum level health, dental, vision, and life insurance 100% paid by WOLA; 20 days of annual vacation, a 5% retirement match at one year of employment, 20 days of sick leave, early dismissal summer Fridays, 16 paid holidays, and twelve weeks of paid parental leave. The office is closed between Christmas and New Year’s.

Deadline: We are accepting rolling applications and will conduct rolling interviews with a final due date of March 27. 

Benefits include platinum level health, dental, vision, and life insurance 100% paid by WOLA; 20 days of annual vacation, a 5% retirement match at one year of employment, 20 days of sick leave, early dismissal summer Fridays, 16 paid holidays, and twelve weeks of paid parental leave. The office is closed between Christmas and New Year’s.

Application instructions

Please submit in PDF format; a 1-2-page resume (in English), and a 1-2-page cover letter (one copy in English and one in Spanish) . During the interviews, your Spanish and English speaking and writing skills will be tested for proficiency. If we are interested in your candidacy, you will receive an email within two weeks of your application.

-No phone calls or personal emails-


WOLA values a diverse workplace and inclusive culture; we encourage applications from a variety of individuals, even if you don’t meet 100% of the qualifications. WOLA is an equal opportunity employer, and does not discriminate based upon race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family responsibilities, socio-economic circumstance, record of arrest or conviction, or any other status protected by applicable law.

Please be sure to indicate you saw this position on