David Smilde, founder of the blog, is a WOLA Senior Fellow and the Charles A. and Leo M. Favrot Professor of Human Relations at Tulane University. He has lived in or worked on Venezuela since 1992. He has taught at the Universidad Central de Venezuela and the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello. From 2010-2012 Mr. Smilde was Chair of the Venezuelan Studies Section of the Latin American Studies Association. He is currently working on a book project called Venezuela’s Transition to Illiberalism. He is co-editor of Venezuela's Bolivarian Democracy: Participation, Politics and Culture under Chávez (Duke 2011).
Geoff Ramsey is WOLA’s Director for Venezuela, and coordinates the program’s research and advocacy in Washington. He is a leading expert on Venezuela’s political crisis, and has traveled regularly to the country since 2014. He is in close contact with key actors working for an end to the crisis in Venezuela, both inside and outside of the country. Mr. Ramsey advocates for policies that advance a peaceful, negotiated solution to Venezuela’s crisis, that address the urgent humanitarian needs of the Venezuelan people, and that support a humane response to the unique needs of Venezuelan migrants and refugees. In addition to authoring a number of reports and commentary pieces for WOLA and the Venezuelan Politics and Human Rights blog, his work has been cited or published in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Foreign Policy, and other major media outlets. Mr. Ramsey earned an M.A. in International Affairs from the American University School of International Service, as well a B.A. in International Studies with a minor in Spanish from AU.
Kristen Martinez-Gugerli is the Venezuela Program Assistant at WOLA, where she conducts research, facilitates congressional outreach, and provides general support for the Venezuela program. She closely follows the Venezuelan displacement crisis, the humanitarian situation on the ground, and the evolving political crisis, and is a regular contributor to the blog. She earned her degree from the University of Pittsburgh, where she worked and conducted research for the Center for Latin American Studies for two years. She graduated in 2019 with a BPhil in International and Area Studies and Political Science, minors in Spanish and Quechua, and a certificate in Latin American Studies.
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