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Cablegate: Country Clearance for Transportation Security

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

252037Z Nov 05




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. Post welcomes and grants country clearance to
Transportation Security Administration personnel Ismael C.
Mike Galvan to Quito, Ecuador December 7-9, 2005 to attend
exit briefings with host government and airport officials as
a follow-up to the TSA airport assessment at Guayaquil.
Embassy POC is Econ Officer Paul Baldwin. Embassy telephone
is: 593-2-256-2890, ext. 4426; cell phone number 099-442-552.
Please read the following paragraphs carefully.

2. All personnel transferring to an overseas location under
COM authority must complete appropriate overseas personal
security training prior to travel. It is the responsibility
of the sponsoring office to verify that this training has
been completed.

3. All passengers, U.S. and third country nationals, who
enter Ecuador on official travel require a visa. There is an
airport departure fee of USD 25 for departing passengers
using international flights. DOD personnel participating in
GOE-approved deployments and exercises, and arriving with
military orders, are exempt from the visa requirement and may
travel on military orders.

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4. Each visitor, regardless of length of stay, must
bring/forward fiscal data 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. Direct charge costs include, but are not limited to:
American and LES staff overtime (e.g., expediter,
accommodation exchange, representational event support),
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. Also, for TDYers over thirty 30)
days, there is a charge for ICASS support services. If our
sponsoring agency is not signed up for ICASS services to
post, please be prepared to sign a 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, provides the agency ICASS billing c
ode the TDY support charges should be applied to, and
authorizes 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 TDY.

5. The State Department has designated Quito and Guayaquil as
critical for criminal threat. Usually, crimes are of a
non-violent nature such as pick pocketing, burglary of
personal effects and thefts from vehicles. However, violent
crimes such as kidnapping, armed robbery and car-jacking are
increasing throughout Ecuador, especially in the urban areas.
Sexual assault cases against visitors in beach resort areas
have occurred with regularity and none of the beaches are
considered safe to walk on at night.

6. In Quito, extreme caution should be taken in tourist
areas, transit points and crowded marketplaces, especially on
the crowded streets of south Quito, buses and trolleys, the
Panecillo (a city overlook point) and all transportation
terminals. For Guayaquil, caution should be taken when in
the downtown section of the city, with extra caution taken
while in the Malecon 2000 river front district, the docks and
airport areas. There have been many reports of luggage theft
at the airport.

7. To avoid being the victim of a crime, visitors should
remain alert to their surroundings and maintain constant
control of purses, backpacks, briefcases and luggage. Extra
care should be taken with belongings if traveling on buses or
trolleys. Do not place bags or backpacks under your seat
especially if they contain documents or money. The use of
some type of document pouch worn inside of clothing is
recommended. Expensive-appearing jewelry and watches should
not be worn. Poor road conditions, free ranging animals,
unsafe vehicles and drivers dictate against night travel
outside urban areas.

8. Official visitors intending to travel into the Northern
border provinces are required to seek permission through the
RSO and DCM seven days prior to the planned travel. A formal
process is established for this request.

9. Travelers to the capital city of Quito may require some
time to adjust to the altitude (9,300 feet), which can
adversely affect blood pressure, digestion, sleep and energy
level. Most people, even those who are healthy and fit, feel
some symptoms of hypoxia (lack of oxygen) upon arrival in
Quito. Persons with medical conditions related to the
circulatory or respiratory systems, (high blood pressure,
history of coronary heart disease, emphysema, for example)
and anyone with sickle cell anemia, should ask their
physician if travel to Quito or other high-altitude locations
is advisable. U.S. government employees who do not have a
class I medical clearance are requested to check with M/MED
before planning travel to Quito. Diamox, a medication
commonly prescribed to aid with acclimatization, is not
generally required for travel to Quito. However, it is
advisable to limit physical activity and drink plenty of
nonalcoholic beverages for the first two to three days after
arriving in Quito.

Individuals with sickle cell trait should carefully consider
the altitude of Quito before commencing with travel. Short
term (TDY) assignments carry an added risk because of the
lack of time for acclimatization. Dehydration and stress
from exercise or illness compound the basic risks of high
altitude. For more information, contact your health unit or
the medical, clearances section of the Offices of Medical

10. Visitors receiving country clearance should be aware
that all interview requests, be they for backgrounding or
on-the-record statements, for USG officials are vetted
through PAS in Quito. For visiting FSNs, please be advised
that only requests for backgrounding or off-the-record
context-setting will be considered and that these requests
must also be vetted through PAS/Quito. If a journalist
approaches you for a statement/interview/ reaction, please
contact Press Specialist Renata Barragan at (02) 250-2053.

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