Barbara E. Joe

author, human rights activist, Spanish interpreter

Barbara E. Joe, MA, (last name thanks to a Korean father-in-law) is a Boston native and an alumna of the University of California, Berkeley. A mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, she works as a freelance writer, Spanish interpreter, and translator out of her century-old house on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. An Amnesty International volunteer since 1981, she was a founding member of local Group 211 and has served in various national leadership positions, including 14 years as volunteer Cuba and Dominican Republic country specialist and the last 12 years as volunteer coordinator for the Caribbean. She is also a member of the National Peace Corps Association and a board member of several non-profit organizations working internationally. After the deaths of her older son and a Cuban foster son, she joined The Compassionate Friends, a bereaved parents’ support group, and began leading a Spanish-language bereavement group. She has joined a small, intentional Catholic community called Communitas. From 2000-20003, she served as a health volunteer with the Peace Corps in Honduras and wrote an award-winning memoir, Triumph & Hope: Golden Years with the Peace Corps in Honduras (, Kindle, & Nook). She has also written articles about Cuba, Haiti, Romania, Sudan, and other countries visited for humanitarian reasons. In April 2011, she was featured in Woman’s Day and in August 2011 and April 2013 appeared on Voice of America News in internationally distributed videos. In 2014, she authored another memoir, Confessions of a Secret Latina: How I Fell Out of Love with Castro & In Love with the Cuban People (, Kindle, & Nook). Her motto throughout her life has been to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Readers are invited to view her blog,, where she posts comments about Washington, D.C., Cuba, and her annual humanitarian visits to Honduras.