Geoff Thale is the Acting President at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a leading research and advocacy organization advancing human rights in the Americas. He follows hemispheric trends as well as U.S. policy toward the region, and works with senior staff across WOLA’s multiple program areas.
Prior to assuming Presidency in the fall of 2019, Thale was WOLA’s Vice-President of Programs for 14 years working with senior staff on advocacy stratifies and program development. In 1995, he came to WOLA to work on Central America issues with a particular focus on El Salvador and Nicaragua, following issues of human rights, citizen security, and economic opportunity in the region. He also founded the Cuba program, supporting normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba, and facilitating dialogue between Cuban society – academics, religious leaders and others – and their counterparts in the United States and elsewhere.
During his time as Vice-President of Programs, he worked with program staff on issues related to Colombia, Bolivia, Venezuela, and citizen security and drug policy.
Thale has followed U.S.-Central America policy since the mid-1980s, and travels to the region several times a year. Thale has visited Cuba regularly since the mid-1990’s. He has taken multiple congressional delegations to Cuba and Central America, and has spoken and been published extensively on the region and U.S. policy issues. Prior to joining WOLA, he was the Founder and Executive Director of the El Salvador Policy Project in Washington, DC. Thale holds a Master’s degree in Industrial Relations from the University of Wisconsin.