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Cablegate: Country Clearance for Tony Cambas

VZCZCXYZ0013
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSJ #1513/01 1881912
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 071912Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHSN/AMEMBASSY SAN SALVADOR 4053
INFO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5539

UNCLAS SAN JOSE 001513

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID OTRA CS
SUBJECT: COUNTRY CLEARANCE FOR TONY CAMBAS

REF: SAN SALVADOR 01731

1. Embassy San Jose is pleased to grant country clearance to
Tony Cambas from Booz Allen, Hamilton,Inc. who will be in
Costa Rica from July 16-27, 2006. The purpose of this trip
is to implement the second phase of the risk management
training under FASTrade's CAFTA-DR Action Plan.

2. Control Officer: POC is Maria Villanueva, Economic
Assistant, who can be reached at the office (506)519-2419 or
fax (506)519-2364. The Embassy after-hours emergency phone
number is (506)220-3127.

3. Upon arrival in country all TDY visitors are to make
contact with their Embassy Control Officer for information
regarding a security briefing.

4. Accommodations: Post understands hotel reservations have
been made by traveler at the Real Inter Continental. The per
diem rate for San Jose is $104.00 for lodging, and $67.00
M&IE. Hotels in San Jose require a minimum notice of 72
hours if canceling or changing reservations. Travelers must
notify the Embassy 72 hours in advance if schedule changes.
Hotels will assess a one-day charge if they do not receive
advance notice of cancellation or changes. Prior to arrival
in Costa Rica, travelers should provide the RSO office the
hotel and/or phone numbers for point of contact, as this is
required information for TDY registration and Emergency
contact.

5. Transportation: The only taxis available at the airport
are the Taxi Aeropuerto orange taxis found outside the
arrival hall. Tickets for the orange taxis are sold at a
ticket booth located immediately outside the arrival hall
exit doors. Fares (payable in U.S. dollars or local
currency) vary according to destination but the cost of a
standard orange taxi ticket to the Embassy is $14, to the
Intercontinental Hotel is $14 and to downtown San Jose is
$14. Vans are also available at increased cost. If you miss
the ticket counter or otherwise need assistance with orange
taxi service, the company has an individual posted curbside
from where the orange taxis are dispatched. Taxi Aeropuerto
also offers pick-up service and transportation to the airport
for departing passengers. Reservations can be made 24 hours
a day by phoning (506)221-6865.

Elsewhere in San Jose, official taxis are considered safe
when using standard security precautions. Official taxis
have a yellow triangle on the door, an identification number,
a taxi light on the roof of the car, and generally have
working meters. Ask if the meter is functioning before
entering the cab. If the meter is not functioning, the cost
of the fares should be negotiated prior to entering the cab.
Official taxis are also easily obtainable from hotels.

Unofficial taxis come in all shapes and sizes and should be
avoided.

6. Public Affairs: Please note that the Public Affairs
Office is the Embassy's designated point of contact with the
press. If visitors have been scheduled for press events by
local partner organizations or others, please inform the
Embassy's Public Affairs Office. Should visitors be
approached by the press with questions or a request for an
interview, they should refer the press to the Embassy Public
Affairs Office. In short, post requests that visitors not
speak with the press before consulting with the Public
Affairs office (506)519-2441.

7. Travel documents/Threat assessment/Local conditions: All
official visitors must travel with passports, preferably
official or diplomatic. Without these documents, travelers
lack official status in the eyes of the Costa Rican
Government. However, no repeat no visa is necessary.

During this time of heightened security alerts, all travelers
should consult the Department's website for the latest public
announcement or other safety notices at www.usembassy.or.cr
or www.usembassy.or.cr/osac.html.

Costa Rica is currently rated as a "high" crime threat post.
The increasing use of violence during the commission of a
street crime is a threat to all visitors. Travelers are
urged to exercise caution, as in any large city. Local law
enforcement agencies are not up to U.S. standards and have
limited capabilities. Jewelry should not be worn on the
streets. Large amounts of cash should not be displayed. The
downtown area of San Jose should be avoided at night because
of the increase of criminal activity that occurs in this
area.

Credit card fraud and credit card "number skimming" is a
rapidly growing crime. Visitors should avoid using debit
cards for point-of-sale purchases, as a skimmed number can be
used to clean out an account. Visitors should check their
credit card accounts frequently.

Visitors are advised to avoid unofficial moneychangers who
may offer better rates but who often trade in counterfeit
currency. The present rate of exchange is approximately 513
Costa Rican colones to one dollar. Accommodation exchange is
available at a comparable rate at the airport.

Visitors should exercise caution if they will be driving in
Costa Rica. The combination of poor road conditions, erratic
driving, and pedestrian and animal traffic on the roads make
driving very treacherous. Costa Rica has one of the highest
accident rates per automobile in the world. The Embassy
strongly recommends against driving outside of the San Jose
area at night. Vehicles should not be left unattended or
packages left visible inside them.
Costa Rica is an earthquake zone and periodically experiences
significant tremors.

Visitors should be careful not to eat peanuts or products
made from peanuts grown in Costa Rica because they may harbor
aflatoxin, which is suspected in the causation of liver
cancer.

8. Mandatory Personal Security Training: Effective January
1, 2005, all American personnel traveling to post for a TDY
of 30 days or more at 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 as outlined in State cable 66580, dated 25
March 2004.

9. Laptops: Please be advised that State Department
regulations prohibit installation or use of privately-owned
computers in any State Department building. Visitors must
notify the Regional Security Office in advance if they intend
to use U.S. Government-owned portable computers in the
Chancery.
LANGDALE

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