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Cablegate: Travel Alert - Zimbabwe

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RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE 0612
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INFO RUESBKC/ATO ASIA IMMEDIATE 1674

UNCLAS STATE 058879

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CASC ASEC ZI
SUBJECT: TRAVEL ALERT - ZIMBABWE

1. This Travel Alert updates safety and security concerns
in Zimbabwe, advises U.S. citizens to consider relocating
if necessary to ensure their security during the upcoming
election period, and continues to recommend deferral of all
non-essential travel to Zimbabwe at this time. This
supersedes the Travel Alert for Zimbabwe dated May 14, 2008
and expires on August 1, 2008.

2. U.S. citizens should defer non-essential travel to
Zimbabwe. U.S. citizens resident in Zimbabwe, particularly
in rural areas, should carefully review their personal
circumstances and consider moving to a more secure location
in advance of, and immediately following, the June 27
runoff of the presidential elections between President
Robert Mugabe and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
candidate Morgan Tsvangirai. Since the March 29 general
election, Zimbabwean security forces, including some
military and police, as well as so-called war veterans,
have created a climate of intimidation and fear across the
country, particularly in rural areas and high-density
suburbs. There have been numerous and widespread attacks
on opposition supporters, renewed farm invasions, and
arrests and beatings of election officials accused of vote
tampering. There is a continued risk of arbitrary
detention or arrest.

3. Americans should be particularly cautious when using
still, video or telephone cameras in any urban setting, or
in the vicinity of any political activity, as this could be
construed by Zimbabwean authorities as presenting oneself
as an accredited journalist, a crime punishable by arrest,
incarceration and/or deportation.

4. American citizens traveling to or resident in Zimbabwe
should register with the U.S. Embassy by completing a
registration form online at
https://travelregistration.state.gov. Registration enables
the Embassy to contact American citizens in case of
emergency and provide updates on the security situation.

5. As the Department of State continues to develop
information on any potential security threats to U.S.
citizens overseas, it shares credible threat information
through its consular information program documents,
available on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov. In
addition to information on the Internet, travelers may
obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by
calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. or outside the
U.S. and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.

6. Minimize considered.
RICE

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