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Cablegate: Country Clearance for Ntsb and Faa Investigators to Provide Technical Assistance

DE RUEHBR #2094/01 2751802
P 021802Z OCT 06





E.O. 12958: N/A


REF: SECSTATE 165115 1. Post grants country clearance for the October 03-12 (tentative departure) visit of 4 USG travelers, William R. English, Stephen M. Demko, Scott A. Warren, of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Floyd A. James of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to travel to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, October 3-12, in support of the investigation involving the possible mid-air collision between an Embraer Legacy executive jet and a GOL Aerolineas Boeing 737-800, which occurred on September 29. Travelers have contacted Embassy and received assurance of country clearance via e-mail.

2. Visitors are reminded that all US citizens traveling to Brazil for any purpose require visas, which must be obtained in advance from a Brazilian Embassy or Consulate. "Airport visas" do not exist, and immigration authorities will refuse entry to anyone without a valid visa. All Brazilian visas are considered invalid if not used within 90 days of issuance.

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3. Visitors should be current with all immunizations required for Brazil. Those arriving on flights that do not originate in the United States are advised to ensure that their yellow fever vaccination is up to date, and that they have their WHO yellow cards with them to prove it. Please consult with appropriate medical authorities before traveling.

4. (U) The U.S. Embassy continues to receive reports from official visitors and tourists of recent VARIG domestic and international flight cancellations due to the airline's financial difficulties. These cancellations continue to result in missed connecting flights in Sao Paulo and Rio, and disruption of travelers' itineraries. Although the airline has been purchased by a new buyer, both domestic and international flights are likely to operate at a significantly reduced confidence level during their restructuring period. U.S. citizens should keep this in mind when making travel plans.

5. (U) All official visitors must attend the RSO Security briefing.

6. Please find below information on the city to be visited: - Rio de Janeiro - The United States Consulate in Rio is located at Avenida Presidente Wilson 147, Castelo, Rio de Janeiro, telephone number (from U.S.) 011+[55](21) 2292-7117, fax number (from U.S.) 011+[55](21) 2220-0439. Emergencies and calls after normal business hours may be directed to Post One at 011+[55](21) 2220-0489. Hotel information: We understand that hotel accommodations for all four NTSB and FAA inspectors have been arranged by NTSB at the Hotel Intercontinental, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, tel. 55-21-3323-2200.

7. The point of contact in Brazil will be Col. Antonio Ruffino, CENIPA, XXXX. Post assistance is not requested. 8. Comments/questions for NTSB should be directed to John Clark, Director, Office of Aviation Safety, 202-314-6300, XXXX , or Robert Macintosh, Chief Advisor, International Safety Affairs, 202-314-6312, macintr'at'

9. Persons entering Brazil under the USG auspices have an important role to play in strengthening U.S. - Brazil cooperation. Please keep this priority in mind during your visit and inform the embassy or nearest consulate promptly of any opportunities or problems that arise. As a result of the imposition of biometric enrolment of the US-VISIT program, the Government of Brazil started fingerprinting and photographing arriving U.S. citizens in January 2004. Present GOB policy is not to fingerprint U.S. travelers arriving on official or diplomatic visas. It is possible, however, that official visitors could be asked to submit to a fingerprinting through administrative error. The Embassy hopes that visitors will comply with reasonable requests from the Brazilian immigration authorities. Any unusual delays or unreasonable treatment should be brought to the attention of the Management Officer so they can be relayed to the GOB. Full cooperation with the identification procedures is advisable.

10. MEDICAL EVACUATION, INSURANCE AND HEALTH UNIT ACCESS ISSUES: Direct Hire employees (not contractors) of the Department of State, USAID, DOD, and CDC need not take 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. For

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employees whose agencies are not authorized to fund medevacs, individuals will be responsible for obtaining their own medevac insurance and providing the information to their control officer. 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. Contractors do not have access to services in the Health Units at Post. In an emergency, the Health Unit will try to facilitate access to care on the local economy or facilitation with their medevac provider. Contractors need to be advised that for any medical care needs they will need to use services provided on the local economy.

11. Please find below some information on Administrative procedures and requirements: A. 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 its visit. Direct charge costs include, but are not limited to:

-- American and LES overtime (for such services as airport expediting, cashier accommodation exchange, control room staffing, representational event support); Travel and per diem costs incurred by post personnel in support of visitor's field travel;

-- Rental of vehicles and other equipment;

-- Long distance telephone calls;

-- Office supplies;

-- Gasoline and other vehicle maintenance costs;

-- Departure tax and other airport fees. Post will not provide service if fiscal data is not provided for the direct charges. B. For TDYers remaining at post over 30 days, there is a charge for ICASS support services. This charge is for the following ICASS services and will be billed thru the ICASS TDY module, based on a per-capita-basis, prorated for the length of stay. For example, a TDY visit by one USG employee of 06 months' duration would be counted as 0.5:

-- Basic Package;

-- Community Liaison - CLO;

-- Health Services.

C. If your sponsoring agency is not signed up for ICASS services at post, please be prepared to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) document for ICASS support services upon arrival. The agency should provide post with a written communication generated by the traveler's headquarters that confirms the agency will pay ICASS charges for the TDYer. The communication should include the agency ICASS billing code to which the TDY support should be charged and authorize the traveler to sign the ICASS invoice generated by the TDY module. Agencies will not be billed until the accumulated invoice cost for TDY support exceeds Dols 2,500 for the fiscal year. Where travel is urgent, the TDYers should bring this documentation with him/her 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.

12. Crime is the principal and real threat to visitors to Brazil. The crime threat level in Rio de Janeiro is critical. Taxis and private vehicles should be used to move about.

13. In addition, individuals and organizations with ties to extremist groups operate in the tri-border area between Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina - this includes the Iguacu falls area. Official visitors contemplating travel to this area should contact the Embassy before doing so, as well as Embassy Asuncion and/or Embassy Buenos Aires if they plan to cross into Paraguay and/or Argentina.

14. Visitors should practice common sense preventative security techniques, just as they would in any large city in the world. Some of the more important tips that you should follow to avoid becoming a crime victim are: -- Do not carry or wear valuable items that will attract the attention of thieves. If you need to wear expensive jewelry or carry a camera; conceal it until you arrive at your destination.

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-- Be aware of the street environment and avoid contact with those who may be looking for robbery targets. Seek a safer location. Go into a store, bank or simply cross the street.

-- Do not physically resist any robbery attempt. While this is a personal decision, statistics show that resistance leads to injury.

-- Do not answer your hotel room door until you positively confirm who is on the other side. Look out the peephole, or call the front desk to confirm the visitor.

-- Do not walk on the beaches after dark. Assaults are common.

-- Avoid city buses. Many pass through high crime areas and are susceptible to robberies. 15. Visitors who intend to bring U.S. Government portable microcomputers into the embassy or consulate must obtain prior approval from the systems manager and the RSO/PSO. The use of privately owned computers is discouraged in any government facility.


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