WOLA – Washington Office on Latin America

WOLAPromoting Human Rights, Democracy and Social Justice – this is what WOLA is all about. The group’s goal is to help promote these three key points by working with partners in Latin America and the Caribbean to shape the policies in the United States and abroad.

WOLA envisions a future in which human rights and social justice are the basic foundations for public policy in the Latin America community in the U.S. They want to promote a society where change is possible when people on-the-ground work hand-in-hand with the ones who make policy; a society wherein people respect democratic values and human rights of the Hispanic community.


Focuses of WOLA

  • Connect with partners in Latin America and the Caribbean in analyzing regional events, trends and challenges and act quickly in ensuring that the range of voices are heard.
  • Impact policies in the United States and abroad by establishing key contacts with government officials and multi-lateral organizations.
  • Shape the public debate and raise new issues through outreach to traditional and new media; sponsor public events with scholars, officials and grassroots activists; conduct original research, analysis and commentary by a staff with decades of cumulative experience in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Serves as a key resource for civil society organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean, working with colleagues in the region on coalition-building, networking, research, advocacy and participation in policy debates.

History of WOLA

The inspiration for creating WOLA is a brutal military coup. General Augusto Pinochet overthrew the democratically elected government in Chile on September 11, 1973. After the unfortunate event, the people who have had experience living and working in Latin America established the group. They were determined to voice out what was happening and seek justice for the people.

WOLA has a unique mission to connect policy-makers in Washington with the witnesses of the thousand deaths, disappearances, torture and unjust imprisonment brought upon by the dictators in Chile and all throughout the region. Other than just ‘representing’ the people, WOLA seeks to gain access in the United States and be connected with the policy-making body which inspired them so much. This very vital collaboration paved the way to WOLA’s successful work.

The group still continues to be at the forefront in promoting new approaches that will help advance the human rights of the people and end the violence that happens in different societies all over the country.

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