World Affairs Council of St. Louis Hosts Visitors from Latin America

Focusing on combating international crime, from April 25 to 27, the World Affairs Council of St. Louis hosted 7 visitors from several Latin American countries, including Argentina, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Peru, through the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP).

These visitors were a diverse group of individuals whose professions were varied in relation to fighting transnational and organized crime. The group was in Saint Louis to learn more about moving toward a more safe and secure world, and their meetings ranged from a Federal Bureau of Investigation employee’s discussion about Latin American gangs to learning about a unique case pertaining to money laundering from St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Robert Patrick.

The visitors were able to discuss the improvements in communications between Latin American countries and United States agencies. The FBI employee highlighted the success stories of the Transnational Anti-Gang Task Force, which provides technical expertise, training, and specialized equipment to vetted teams in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Robert Patrick, a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, shared information about the money laundering investigation linked to Venezuelan nationals Hjalmar Gibelli-Gomez and Fabrizio Della Polla De-Simone.  In addition, the group spent quite a bit of time discussing in detail the confidentiality of sources and their roles.

Our visitors had the opportunity to ask questions about the case and how Saint Louis officials handled the publicity of this national story.

This group also met with Professor Leila Sadat, a human rights expert from Washington University, who teaches her students topics such as Intellectual Property & Technology Law and U.S. Law for Foreign Lawyers. Nicole Dawsey, the Executive Director for the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, also met with the group and spoke with them about NCADA’s impact on youth and prevention strategies for substance abuse.

Other speakers that the group had an opportunity to meet included an employee from the Bureau of Drug Enforcement and an employee from The Drug Enforcement Agency-St. Louis Division.  The group’s next stop is New York.

The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program. The mission of the IVLP is to advance U.S. foreign policy goals by providing firsthand knowledge of the society, culture, political system, and economy of the United States while cultivating professional relationships and networks.