Cablegate: Argentina: Country Clearance for Fsi Economics Division


DE RUEHBU #0472/01 1051329
R 141329Z APR 08




E.O. 12958: N/A



1. Post warmly welcomes and grants country clearance to FSI
Economics Division Professor Lynda D. Vargha for the period of April
19-26, 2008. The purpose of the trip is an orientation to Economic
Section work and training requirements.

2. Embassy Buenos Aires Control Officer will be ECON Officer Ian
Sheridan , who can be reached at (54-11) 5777-4359. Email is
Sheridan Embassy address: Av. Colombia 4300, Embassy
phone 54-11-5777-4555; Embassy fax 54-11-5777-4212. Embassy hours:
8:45 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.

3. Visas: Visitors are reminded that Argentina requires visas in
U.S. 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.

4. Airport tax: All American visitors, including those holding
official or diplomatic passports are required to pay the airport tax
when departing Argentina. For international flights, the tax is
US$18 per passenger (VAT-exempt) or peso equivalent, payable in

5. Administrative support:

a. If administrative support services are necessary, regardless of
length of stay, then the visitor must be able to present to the
Financial Management Office their travel authorization (or another
fund cite) in order to pay for direct costs of the visit. Each
agency, organization, or visiting delegation will be charged for the
actual costs attributed to their visit and will be advised of this
action. Direct charge costs include, but are not limited to:
American and LES staff overtime, field travel-lodging and M&IE by
Embassy employees, vehicle rentals, long distance telephone calls,
equipment rentals, office supplies and all other costs that are
directly attributable to the visit.

b. Also, for TDYers staying over thirty (30) days, there will be a
charge for ICASS support services. If your sponsoring agency is not
signed up for ICASS services at post, please be prepared to sign an
MOU for ICASS support services upon arrival. The agency should
provide post with written communication generated by the traveler's
headquarters that confirms the agency will pay ICASS charges for the
TDYers, provide the agency ICASS billing code the TDY support
charges should be applied to, and should authorize the traveler to
sign the ICASS invoice generated by the TDY module. Where travel is
urgent, the TDYers should bring this documentation with them to
ensure there are no interruptions in the provision of service. Post
will not provide any service to a TDYer staying in excess of thirty
days without provision of this documentation before day 31 of the

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

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 the city of 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 in large U.S. cities.

7. Exchange facilities: The Argentine peso, which is
currently exchanged at a floating rate, is the official currency.

BUENOS AIR 00000472 002 OF 002

Traveler's checks may be accepted by hotels but are not widely
accepted by other businesses or establishments. There is a wide
network of ATMs that honors U.S. issued ATM/debit/credit cards
issuing funds in pesos. Travelers are reminded to exercise the same
caution when using an ATM as one would in the United States.

8. Embassy access: State Department employees should bring their
State ID cards/building passes to Buenos Aires to facilitate access
to the Embassy. If other visitors need unescorted access to the
Embassy, please provide security clearance information in writing
via cable or by bringing a letter signed by the appropriate
authority. Visitors whose clearances have not been verified must be
escorted at all times in the Embassy.

9. Telephone calls: Visitors should bring a fund cite or credit card
to cover the cost of official international and in-country long
distance telephone calls. International calling cards are

10. Laptop computers/digital cameras: Laptops/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 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 the CAA.
Use of cellular phones outside the CAA is not restricted. It
should be noted that if a 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. Mandatory personal security training: All personnel requesting
country clearance to perform duty for 30 days or more at an overseas
location must have completed the mandatory personal security
training ("Serving Abroad for Families and Employees" (S.A.F.E.)
course) conducted at the FSI, prior to their travel.

12. For further general information regarding travel to Argentina,
travelers should consult the Department of State internet site at which includes the latest consular
information sheet for Argentina.

13. We look forward to meeting and working with you.

14. To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our classified
website at:< /a>


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