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Cablegate: Argentina: Codel Engel, February 20-23, 2008

VZCZCXYZ0001
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #0174/01 0451241
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 141241Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0245
INFO RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 1043
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ 5095

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 000174

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR H, PATRICIA DIGGS
DEPARTMENT FOR RM/F/DFS/FO/AA/CAA

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OREP AFIN AMGT ASEC AR EC BL
SUBJECT: ARGENTINA: CODEL ENGEL, FEBRUARY 20-23, 2008

REF: SECSTATE 14118

1. THE AMBASSADOR WARMLY WELCOMES REPRESENTATIVE ELIOT ENGEL AND THE
DELEGATION HE WILL LEAD. THE PURPOSE OF THE TRIP IS TO MEET WITH
LEADING ARGENTINE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS, LEGISLATORS, AND
REPRESENTATIVES OF CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS.

2. CONTROL OFFICER WILL BE POLITICAL OFFICER DAVID ALARID.
EMAIL: ALARIDDA@STATE.GOV. EMBASSY ADDRESS: AV. COLOMBIA 4300; CELL
PHONE: 15-5060-9954; EMBASSY PHONE 54-11-5777-4656 OR 4858; EMBASSY
FAX 54-11-5777-4234. EMBASSY HOURS: 08:45 AM TO 05:45 PM.

ADMINISTRATIVE POINT OF CONTACT WILL BE PEDRO CRUZ: E-MAIL
CRUZP@STATE.GOV, PHONE 54-11-5777-4291 OR 4421.

3. POST HAS SECURED RESERVATIONS AT THE FOLLOWING HOTEL:

MARRIOTT PLAZA HOTEL
FLORIDA 1005
BUENOS AIRES
C1005AAU ARGENTINA
PHONE: 54 11 4318 3000
FAX: 54 11 4318 3008
ARRIVAL DATE: FEBRUARY 20, 2008
DEPARTURE DATE: FEBRUARY 23, 2008
NIGHTS: 3

17 STANDARD NON-SMOKING ROOMS AND 1 SUITE (FOR THE CONTROL ROOM)
HOTEL RATE FOR STANDARD ROOM: USD 150.00 + 21% TAXES= USD 182.00
BREAKFAST IS INCLUDED. HOTEL RATE FOR SUITE IS USD 278.00 (FOR FOUR
NIGHTS)+ 21%= 1,348 USD. CANCELLATION POLICY IS AS FOLLOWS: FROM
FEBRUARY 13, 2008 IF MORE THAN 2 ROOMS ARE CANCELLED THE HOTEL WILL
CHARGE 100 % OF THE TOTAL ROOM REVENUE. POST WILL PROVIDE MEET AND
GREET ASSISTANCE, TRANSPORTATION AND AN INTERPRETER THROUGHOUT THE
CODEL'S STAY IN ARGENTINA.

4. VISAS: VISITORS ARE REMINDED THAT ARGENTINA REQUIRES VISAS IN US
DIPLOMATIC AND OFFICIAL PASSPORTS FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL. PERSONS
TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AND CARRYING DIPLOMATIC OR OFFICIAL
PASSPORTS WHO ARRIVE WITHOUT A VALID VISA MAY BE DENIED ENTRY AND
SENT BACK TO POINT OF ORIGIN. THE EMBASSY IS UNABLE TO SECURE ENTRY
OF TRAVELERS WHO ARRIVE WITHOUT VISAS.

5. AIRPORT TAX: OFFICIAL VISITORS, HOLDING DIPLOMATIC OR REGULAR
PASSPORTS, ARE REQUIRED TO PAY THE AIRPORT TAX. FOR INTERNATIONAL
FLIGHTS, THE TAX IS US $18 PER PASSENGER (VAT-EXEMPT) OR PESO
EQUIVALENT, PAYABLE IN CASH, WITH TRAVELER'S CHECKS OR CREDIT CARDS.


6. THREAT ASSESSMENT:

A. POLITICAL VIOLENCE/TERRORISM: LIAISON WITH HOST GOVERNMENT
POLICE AND SECURITY FORCES INDICATE THERE IS LITTLE THREAT TO U.S.
CITIZENS (OFFICIAL VISITORS, BUSINESS VISITORS, TOURISTS) FROM
INDIGENOUS TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS IN ARGENTINA. THERE ARE NO
VIOLENT DOMESTIC GROUPS CURRENTLY ACTIVE IN THIS COUNTRY THAT ARE
SPECIFICALLY TARGETING U.S. INTERESTS. HOWEVER, GIVEN THE PRESENCE
OF MEMBERS OF AND SUPPORT FOR EXTREMIST INTERNATIONAL TERRORIST
GROUPS SUCH AS HIZBOLLAH IN THE TRI-BORDER REGION OF ARGENTINA
(MISIONES PROVINCE), VISITORS HERE CANNOT DISCOUNT THE POSSIBILITY
OF TERRORIST ACTIVITY, TO INCLUDE RANDOM ACTS OF ANTI-AMERICAN
VIOLENCE.

B. CRIME: PETTY STREET CRIME IN THE CITY OF BUENOS AIRES AND THE
IMMEDIATE SUBURBS CONTINUES TO BE A PROBLEM FOR RESIDENTS AND
VISITORS ALIKE. BURGLARIES IN THE MORE FASHIONABLE SUBURBS HAVE BEEN
A PARTICULAR PROBLEM. VISITORS TO THE CITY OF BUENOS AIRES SHOULD BE
AWARE OF PROBLEMS WITH HOTEL SECURITY (I.E. THEFTS FROM ROOM) AND
PICKPOCKETS OR PURSE SNATCHING ON THE STREETS AND PUBLIC
TRANSPORTATION (BUSES AND TRAINS). PICKPOCKETS OFTEN WORK IN PAIRS
AND EMPLOY A VARIETY OF RUSES TO VICTIMIZE THE UNSUSPECTING VISITOR.
IN RECENT YEARS, MOST CRIME AFFECTING VISITORS HAS BEEN
NON-VIOLENT; AGGRAVATED ROBBERIES, SHOOTINGS, ETC., WHILE NOT
COMPLETELY UNHEARD OF IN BUENOS AIRES WERE NONETHELESS UNCOMMON.
RECENTLY, HOWEVER, INCIDENTS OF ARMED INVASIONS OF RESTAURANTS,
SHOPS AND RESIDENCES BY CRIMINAL GROUPS ARE BEING OBSERVED WITH
GREATER FREQUENCY, AND AS A RESULT, IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT DUE
CAUTION BE EXERCISED WHEN TRAVELING ABOUT THE CITY. HOWEVER, IN
GENERAL, THE CRIME LEVEL IN BUENOS AIRES IS LESS SEVERE THAN LARGE
U.S. CITIES.

PICKPOCKETS OFTEN WORK IN PAIRS AND EMPLOY A VARIETY OF RUSES TO
VICTIMIZE THE UNSUSPECTING VISITOR. IN RECENT YEARS, MOST CRIME
AFFECTING VISITORS HAS BEEN NON-VIOLENT; AGGRAVATED ROBBERIES,
SHOOTINGS, ETC., WHILE NOT COMPLETELY UNHEARD OF IN BUENOS AIRES
WERE NONETHELESS UNCOMMON. RECENTLY, HOWEVER, INCIDENTS OF ARMED
INVASIONS OF RESTAURANTS, SHOPS AND RESIDENCES BY CRIMINAL GROUPS
ARE BEING OBSERVED WITH GREATER FREQUENCY, AND AS A RESULT, IT IS
RECOMMENDED THAT DUE CAUTION BE EXERCISED WHEN TRAVELING ABOUT THE
CITY. HOWEVER, IN GENERAL, THE CRIME LEVEL IN BUENOS AIRES IS LESS
SEVERE THAN LARGE U.S. CITIES.

7. ACCOMMODATION EXCHANGE WILL BE PROVIDED IN THE CONTROL ROOM AT
THE HOTEL DURING SET HOURS ON WEDNESDAY AND SATURDAY.

8. EMBASSY ACCESS: STATE DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEES SHOULD BRING THEIR
STATE ID CARDS/BUILDING PASSES TO BUENOS AIRES TO FACILITATE ACCESS
TO THE CHANCERY.

9. DIRECT DIAL TELEPHONE ACCESS WITH INTERNATIONAL DIALING
CAPABILITY WILL BE AVAILABLE IN THE HOTEL CONTROL ROOM, AND CELL
PHONES WILL BE DISTRIBUTED PER DEPARTMENT OF LABOR INSTRUCTIONS.
TELEPHONE NUMBERS WILL BE AS FOLLOWS: (54-11)
4326-3062,(54-11)4393-3404 AND FAX(54-11) 4393-1282.

10. THREE COMPUTERS EQUIPPED WITH INTERNET CONNECTION AND PRINTERS,
ONE FAX MACHINE, ONE COPIER AND ONE DIRECT DIAL INTERNATIONAL
TELEPHONE LINE WILL BE AVAILABLE IN THE HOTEL CONTROL ROOM. LAPTOP
COMPUTERS/DIGITAL CAMERAS/PALM PILOTS, CELLULAR PHONES AND OTHER
ELECTRONIC DEVICES MAY NOT BE BROUGHT INTO THE EMBASSY WITHOUT THE
PRIOR APPROVAL OF THE REGIONAL SECURITY OFFICE. PERSONALLY OWNED
LAPTOPS/PALM PILOTS MAY NOT/NOT BE USED IN THE EMBASSY. USG-OWNED
LAPTOPS MAY ONLY BE USED IN CONTROLLED ACCESS AREAS (CAA) IF THE
USER CERTIFIES THAT THE COMPUTER HAS BEEN CONTINUOUSLY UNDER THE
PERSONAL CONTROL OF A CLEARED AMERICAN THROUGHOUT TRANSIT. IF THIS
REQUIREMENT IS NOT MET, THE LAPTOP CAN ONLY BE USED OUTSIDE OF THE
CAA. USG-OWNED PALM PILOTS ARE UNDER THE SAME RESTRICTIONS AS
CELLULAR PHONES AND OTHER ELECTRONIC DEVICES, AND MAY NOT BE
UTILIZED WITHIN THE CAA. AT THE EMBASSY, ALL USG ISSUED OR PERSONAL
CELLULAR PHONES MUST BE LEFT OUTSIDE OF THE CAA. USE OF CELLULAR
PHONES OUTSIDE OF THE CAA IS NOT RESTRICTED. IT SHOULD BE NOTED
THAT IF TRAVELER IS BRINGING A CELLULAR PHONE INTO THE COUNTRY,
ARGENTINE LAW REQUIRES THE TRAVELER TO DECLARE THE PHONE, INCLUDING
ITS VALUE, WHEN FILLING OUT THE CUSTOMS AND IMMIGRATION DECLARATION
FORM.

11. FOR FURTHER GENERAL INFORMATION REGARDING TRAVEL TO ARGENTINA,
TRAVELERS SHOULD CONSULT THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE INTERNET SITE AT
HTTP://TRAVEL.STATE.GOV/, WHICH INCLUDES THE LATEST CONSULAR
INFORMATION SHEET FOR ARGENTINA.

12. THIS TELEGRAM HAS BEEN CLEARED BY THE DEPUTY CHIEF OF MISSION.

13. VISIT THE EMBASSY BUENOS AIRES CLASSIFIED WEBPAGE AT:
HTTP://WWW.STATE.SGOV.GOV/P/WHA/BUENOSAIRES

WAYNE

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