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Cultural Delegation from the City of Yopal, State of Casanare, Colombia initiated dialogue about commercial relationships during visit to Gainesville, FL

Cultural Delegation from the City of Yopal, State of Casanare, Colombia initiated dialogue about commercial relationships during visit to Gainesville, FL

ColumbiaCulturalDelegationOn Monday, October 19, 2015, a cultural delegation from the City of Yopal, State of Casanare, Colombia, visited the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce. The delegation came to share with the Gainesville community, the Yopal region’s cattlemen cultural heritage and used the cultural exchange as a vehicle to initiate dialogue on commercial relationships with the City of Gainesville and its residents in the areas of commerce, education, sports, culture, and tourism.  Prior to the meeting, the delegation had conducted a series of cultural dance, singing, and short stories performances at the University of Florida.

Attending the meeting from Gainesville were:

  • Susan Davenport, President and CEO, Gainesville Chamber of Commerce (GACC);
  • Staci-Ann Bertrand, Director of Industry Development, GACC;
  • Greg Simmons, Chair, Manufacturing Council, and BBVA Compass;  
  • Edgar Campa-Palafox, Economic Development Coordinator, Alachua County BOCC;  
  • Linda Piper, Events Coordinator, Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs Department, City of Gainesville;  
  • Dwight L. Hulse, President of D.L. Hulse Consulting, LLC and Founder of Latin American Business Alliance (LABA);  
  • Jorge Villalobos, President, The Best Restoration, LLC and LABA representative;  
  • Fausto Pazmin, Director, “Conexión Latina” Latin newspaper; and
  • Ridel Napoles, Professional translator and interpreter.

The members of the Colombian cultural delegation included:

  • Yalile Olmos, Radio and television show “Llano Bravio” host;  
  • Carlos Peña, Radio and television show “Llano Bravio” host;
  • Nubia Castillo-Baron, President of Casanare’s History Center, Director of the Museum “July 8th,” and Owner of the school “Liceo Campestre Andino;”
  • Manuel Alberto Trujillo, CEO of “Yopo Visión y Cultura,” a consulting company and Member of the Museum “July 8th;”
  • Alexander Amaya, Professional dancer and Instructor of Joropo dance;
  • Yolanda Castillo-Baron, President of “Uniendo el Mundo” Foundation and Vice President of Marketing of LifeNet Systems, Inc. (USA); and
  • German Niño, International Liaison for the “Uniendo el Mundo” Foundation.

Additionally, Constanza Engativá, Secretary of Education and Culture of Yopal audio message was played during the meeting supporting the idea of establishing trade relationships between the two cities in order to strengthen their economies.

The meeting served as a basis for exchanging information about each city’s investment opportunities.  It also established an environment to determine the different topics that may be explored further to begin a commercial exchange between the two cities.  Among the initiatives mentioned was the “Sister Cities” program, which is geared towards stimulating commercial and cultural ties with cities abroad.

According to the Yopal delegation, this important meeting will open doors for bilateral trade agreements, as well as help the State of Casanare and its municipalities project their commerce beyond its national borders.  It will also serve as the first step for a future relationships in sports and cultural affairs with the City of Gainesville.

At the end of the meeting, the delegation and the chamber exchanged gifts as a token of friendship and expressed their desire to continue in dialogue to strengthening this newly formed connection between the cities of Gainesville and Yopal.

If you have any questions regarding this meeting or the Colombian cultural delegation, please contact Dwight L. Hulse at or Staci-Ann Bertrand at

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