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Cablegate: Embassy Maputo


DE RUEHTO #0868/01 2000556
R 190556Z JUL 06





E.O. 12958: N/A


1. Embassy Maputo welcomes and grants country
clearance for US Forest Service, Hydrologist, Michael
McNamara to travel to Mozambique from July 27, 2006 to
August 8, 2006 to review source conditions, conduct
field investigation, and author a watershed assessment
of Banhine National Park, Mozambique. If possible,
Post would like Mr. McNamara to call at the embassy to
brief Acting DCM Wysham on his visit - either before or
after going to Banhine National Park.

Please advise as soon as possible regarding any
schedule or itinerary changes; refer to para 8
regarding visa requirements.

2. Control Officer:

Control officer for the visit will be the Acting Deputy
Chief of Mission, John Wysham. He can be contacted at:

-- Office telephone: (258) 2149-27-97, ext.3441
-- Office fax: (258) 2149-35-74
-- Cellular: (258) 82-315-7170

3. Hotel Reservations:

Post understands that no assistance is needed at this time,
however, if assistance is needed please advise as soon as

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4. Briefing by RSO on Security Situation:

Please see para 9 below. Foreigners have been crime
targets recently. TDY visitors staying longer than two
days must come to the Embassy for a security briefing
from the Regional Security Office shortly after
arrival. Guidance will include helpful do's and don'ts
about walking around Maputo, dangerous areas in the
city, use of taxis, etc.

5. Medical Services:

Maputo has limited medical facilities. Visitors will
have to be medavaced in the event of a major injury or
illness. In the past, we have had visitors nearly die
because details of their medavac insurance were not
readily available. Post is therefore very strict in
not granting country clearance unless we are assured
that the traveler is adequately covered if a medavac is

Direct Hire employees (not contractors) of the
Department of State, USAID, Department of Defense, CDC,
and Peace Corps have country clearance and need not
take any further action. Direct Hire employees of
other U.S Government Agencies must provide their
control officer by cable or e-mail a name and 24-hour
point of contact for their agency that can authorize
medical evacuation. Country Clearance is granted upon
receipt of that information.

The USG does not cover contract employees for medevac.
Therefore, all USG contractors (regardless of the
government agency they are contracted to) must provide
their control officer prior to arrival the name, phone
number, and policy number of their medevac insurance
provider(s) for use in case of emergency. Country
clearance will not be granted to contractors without
medevac insurance.

6. Consular Registration:

All TDY visitors spending more than two work days in
Maputo are required to register with the Consular
Section in the Chancery to ensure that the Mission has
current emergency contact information for each visitor.

7. Financial Matters:

With the exception of the main hotels in Maputo,
Mozambique is essentially a cash economy. Credit cards
are of limited utility. Vendors will accept U.S.
dollars (or South African rand) in lieu of the local
currency, the metical. For a day trip to Maputo, we
recommend visitors bring with them USD 100 in cash for
spending money. Dollars can be exchanged at any bank
or currency exchange facility. Embassy Maputo
recommends against the use of travelers' checks, as

transaction charges are uniformly high. Please note
that Embassy Maputo will need fiscal data in the event
that extensive services or goods are required during
the visit. There are no currency import/export
restrictions in affect at this time. The American
Express credit card is accepted by Mozambican Airlines

Please note that charge limits are in effect on most
credit card transactions, and hotel bills need to be
settled every few days.

8. Visas:

Visas are required for entry into Mozambique, and
Embassy Maputo urges travelers to have them prior to
traveling. Travelers arriving from a country without a
Mozambican embassy can get visas at the airport or land
border entry points for USD 20 or 500,000 meticais.
Those arriving from a country with a Mozambican embassy
can obtain visas at the airport or land border entry
points for USD 25. Diplomatic visitors without visas
will have their passports held pending processing of a
visa, which requires Embassy Maputo to process a
diplomatic note.

9. Security/Threat Assessment:

The biggest threat facing U.S. citizens visiting
Mozambique is crime. The State Department has
designated Mozambique a critical-threat post for crime.
Street crime and vehicle hijackings are common and can
be violent. Visitors must be vigilant when out in
public areas, and should not display jewelry or other
items of high value. Visitors should avoid carrying
backpacks or purses, as these can draw unwanted
attention of would-be muggers. Isolated areas, such as
along the Marginal (the area along the sea), should be
avoided as joggers and pedestrians have been mugged
frequently, even during daylight hours.

There are no known terrorist groups active in Mozambique and
no current indications that U.S. citizens are being targeted
by terrorist organizations.

The police are poorly paid, poorly equipped, and lack
the professionalism that U.S. citizens are accustomed
to in the United States. Visitors requiring emergency
assistance should not rely on local emergency services,
but should contact the Marine Security Guard at Post
One at 21-49-07-23. Mozambican law requires that all
persons carry an identity document, such as a passport,
when out in public, and produce it if requested by
police. A copy of passport identity and visa pages is
acceptable. There are certain areas in the city of
Maputo where pedestrian traffic is prohibited, e.g., in
front of the presidential offices located north of the
Hotel Polana on the seaside of Avenida Julius Nyerere.

Overland travel after dark is extremely dangerous due
to poor road conditions, lack of emergency services,
and the increased potential for vehicle high-jacking.
Official Americans serving in Mozambique are prohibited
from overland travel outside city limits during the
hours of darkness.

TDY visitors spending more than two work days in
Mozambique must schedule a security briefing with the
Regional Security Officer.

10. Airport Departure Tax:

There is an airport departure tax, payable only in cash
in U.S. dollars or in meticais, of USD 20 or its
equivalent for long-distance international flights and
USD 20 or its equivalent for regional flights (those
within Southern Africa). A domestic departure tax of
55,000 meticais is levied.

11. Transiting Johannesburg Airport:

Please be aware that baggage security is a significant
problem at the Johannesburg airport. Many items have
been stolen from checked bags, including the checked
bags themselves. The items stolen most often are
electronics (including I-Pods, digital
cameras/cameras, and alarm clocks), toiletries (such
as soap, shaving kits and cologne)and shoes
(especially expensive running/athletic shoes). A

such as these in your carry-on baggage. One security
measure that seems to meet with some success is to
have your luggage stretch-wrapped at your point of
departure. The stretch-wrapping makes it more
difficult for the thieves to gain access to your
luggage. Be aware that flights between Johannesburg
and Maputo are often serviced by a small plane with
little space for carry-on luggage. This may require
passengers to check their larger carry-on items.
Please ensure your valuables are kept in a bag small
enough to carry on your lap to keep them with you at
all times. We take this problem very seriously and
are doing what we can to help aid a solution. In
brief, please:

- Leave behind irreplaceable valuables;
- Always lock your bags;
- Have your luggage stretch-wrapped when possible;
- Keep your valuables with you in a small carry-on.

12. Airline Reservations:

Changing airline tickets after arriving in Maputo is
often difficult. Passenger reservations on all
airlines can be changed through the national airline
and/or travel agents in South Africa, but reissuing
tickets have proven difficult. Travelers should be sure
to confirm onward flight reservations.

13. Health:

Travelers are advised that chloroquine-resistant
malaria is present in Mozambique. The most recent
guidance from the Department of State Medical Office
recommends weekly use of mefloquine as the drug of
choice for malaria prophylaxis in chloroquine-
resistant areas. Mefloquine must be started one to two
weeks before arriving at post. Daily doxycycline is an
alternative regimen. Doxycycline must be started three
days before arriving at post. Both malaria prophylaxis
medications must be continued for four weeks after
departing post.


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