Vicki Gass, new Executive Director of the Latin America Working Group, has been working on Central American social and economic justice issues since 1984 and has lived in both El Salvador and Honduras. She started her career working with the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), and later with the Washington Office on Latin America and Oxfam. From 1999-2001, she led regional advocacy efforts in Central America following Hurricane Mitch for WOLA and Oxfam. Her work helped to ensure the participation of local civil society organizations in meetings with international donors and in the design of post-Hurricane Mitch reconstruction strategies.
At WOLA, Vicki directed the rights and development program, which focused on the relationship between human rights, economic development, and U.S. policy. She advocated for U.S. foreign aid and trade policy, emphasizing poverty reduction, labor rights, and the rural sector in Latin America, and promoted rights-based policy alternatives (see “Trade is Not a Development Strategy”). Her work highlights how fundamental economic and trade structures coupled with weak government institutions contribute to instability and forced migration.
At Oxfam, Gass was the senior policy advisor to Central America, advocating with U.S. policymakers on policy issues of concern to the Oxfam offices in Central America such as fiscal reform and tax justice, gender equity, migration, and sustainable agroecology.
Most recently, she has worked as an independent senior policy consultant promoting human rights and the rule of law in El Salvador and Guatemala, working on tax justice, promoting policies that support agroecology and strategies to combat climate change, and bringing congressional attention to illegal gold mining in Latin America.
As executive director, Vicki will bring a vision for policy change, coalition building, and grassroots organizing that will sustain and grow LAWG’s efforts to secure more just U.S. policies toward Latin America. She will continue LAWG’s current programs while hoping to bring more focus on economic justice issues. 🕊️ ⚖️