Mariakarla Nodarse Venancio is the Assistant Director for Cuba at WOLA and coordinates the program’s research and advocacy in Washington, D.C. As a lawyer and social justice advocate, her work has focused on U.S. foreign policy towards Latin America and promoting a policy of engagement between the people of the United States and Cuba based on mutual interest and respect. Having lived in Cuba, Italy, and the United States, Mariakarla is trilingual and experienced working across culturally different political environments to successfully guide changemakers through engagement and dialogue.
Prior to joining WOLA, Mariakarla was the Assistant General Counsel at Cancio Consulting Group, where she provided strategic leadership in designing advocacy and communications strategies to advance U.S.-Cuba business opportunities, and carried out advocacy efforts with key policymakers in Congress on foreign policy towards Cuba. She also worked as a consultant at the Platform for Innovation and Dialogue with Cuba where she led multiple delegations to the island and contributed to curating learning opportunities for a community of leaders who collaborate to advance equity, opportunity, and human dignity. In addition, Mariakarla worked at the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development where she designed and implemented communication strategies to capitalize on key opportunities and raise awareness on environmental challenges and climate justice.
Mariakarla holds an LLM in International Legal Studies, specializing in international organizations, from American University Washington College of Law. She has a law degree and a master’s in international and public law from Bocconi University.