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Cablegate: Country Clearance Approval for Aviation Safety

VZCZCXYZ0008
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHCV #2049/01 2922202
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 192202Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY CARACAS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9939
INFO RHMCSUU/FAA NATIONAL HQ WASHINGTON DC
RHMCSUU/FAA MIAMI ARTCC MIAMI FL

UNCLAS CARACAS 002049

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAIR OTRA ASEC VE
SUBJECT: COUNTRY CLEARANCE APPROVAL FOR AVIATION SAFETY
INSPECTORS JOE MAIORANA AND QUENTIN CRUZ. (10/21/07 -
10/27/07).

REF: MIAMI FL 0

1. The Embassy grants country clearance for the visit to
Venezuela of Joe Maiorana and Quentin Cruz of the Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) for the period of October 21,
2007 through October 27, 2007. This approval is granted on
the condition that the traveler will be traveling with an
appropriate Venezuelan visa. (See paragraph titled, Passport
Requirements.)

The purpose of the visit is to conduct a substantial
maintenance facility inspection during the performance of a C
check inspection on N905TA at Aeropostal Alas de Venezuela.

Embassy point of contact will be Joshua Temblador. Address:
Embassy of the United States, Calle F con Calle Suapure,
Colinas de Valle Arriba, Caracas, Venezuela.
Telephone: Office 58-212-907-8527
Fax: 58-212-907-8033
Cellphone: 416-614-8925
Embassy after-hours direct line for Marine Security Guard is
58-212-975-9821.

No Embassy assistance has been requested.

SECURITY
--------
The Department of State has rated Venezuela a critical threat
country for crime. Travelers to Venezuela should exercise
caution and good personal security at all times. All USG
visitors to Caracas are required to attend an RSO provided
security briefing. Specific concerns include the following:

CRIME
-----
The crime environment has deteriorated rapidly over the last
several years. Since 1998, there has been a rapid and
serious increase in criminal incidents to include murder,
kidnapping, assaults and residential burglaries. Police and
security officials are often involved, threatening victims to
keep quiet, suggesting much of the crime goes unreported.

Most incidents appear to be crimes of opportunity committed
by individuals or small groups of common street criminals.
Cheap gas coupled with at sharp increase in available
vehicles has allowed criminals to move outside of their
neighborhoods and target areas of perceived wealth. Visitors
should remain alert to their surroundings and maintain
control of personal items. Under no circumstances should
expensive or flashy jewelry be worn in Venezuela.
If you are confronted in a robbery situation, remain calm and
comply with your assailant's demands. Do not attempt to run
or antagonize the perpetrator. Most criminals seek only cash
or other valuables and will not resort to violence unless you
resist their demands.

TERRORISM AND POLITICAL VIOLENCE
--------------------------------
While terrorism concerns have not yet risen to the critical
level, RSO notes that Embassy Caracas is one of a very small
number of posts throughout the world that have fallen victim
to a terrorist attack within the last year. In October 2006,
two pipe bombs were placed at different points outside the
embassy compound. Reporting suggests terrorism is a growing
concern in Venezuela, with multiple indigenous and
transnational groups increasingly allowed to operate within
Venezuelan borders.

Security forces within Venezuela have a reputation for heavy
handed tactics when dealing with anti-Chavez demonstrators or
other uprisings not supported by the government.
Demonstrations have resulted in serious injury to
participants, although demonstrations in front of the US
Embassy have historically been peaceful. Visitors should
avoid demonstrations at all times. If you find yourself
caught in a demonstration, remain calm and leave the area as
quickly as possible. Do not identify yourself as an American
citizen or US Government employee.

TRAVEL TO COLOMBIAN-VENEZUELAN BORDER REGION
--------------------------------------------
Venezuela is involved in a regional conflict with Colombian
guerrillas along the border region. With the exception of
Maracaibo, the area within 50 miles of the Colombian border
is off limits to embassy personnel without written approval
from the Chief of Mission. Requests to travel to this
restricted area must be made by memorandum from your control
officer to the COM, through the DCM and RSO at least 15 days
in advance. Failure to abide by this restriction will result
in denial of future country clearance to Venezuela and/or


disciplinary acion in accordance with 3 FAM 4370.

MAIQUETIA AIPORT
-----------------
The Embassy strongly reommends visitors arrange flights so
as not to arive in Caracas between the hours of midnight and5:00am. The section of road between the first tunnl
(Boqueron I) and the El Trebol (cloverleaf) isparticularly
hazardous due to assaults involvingthe blocking of the
target vehicle by one or mor vehicles and the use of
violence.
USG personnl arriving in Caracas should contact their
sponsoing office to arrange USG authorized transportatio.
Many drivers--often wearing badges identifyingthem as 'taxi
officials"--have been known to robunwary travelers. If
someone asks if you are wih the American Embassy do not give
your name, rater ask for the name of the person he is
seeking nd request to see their identification. Do not go
with the person if he cannot give you the informtion
requested.

CREDIT CARD FRAUD
----------------
Credit card fraud is rampant, and numerou embassy employees
and visitors have fallen victm to this crime. Visitors
should use cash whenever possible. If a credit card must be
used, RSO recommends you keep the credit card within sight at
all times and write down the name of the individual to which
the card was given. In addition, it is recommended you check
your credit reports for unusual activity upon departure from
Venezuela.

REQUIREMENT FOR CI BRIEFING
---------------------------
Official visitors are required to obtain a country specific
counterintelligence briefing from their parent agency prior
to departure to Venezuela. Should you or your parent agency
need assistance with this briefing, DS/CI may be contacted
for guidance. State Department personnel and contractors
should contact the Bureau of Diplomatic Security's Office of
Investigations and Counterintelligence at 571-345-7641 or
DSICICIDISTRO@state.sgov.gov to schedule a briefing.
DS/ICI/CI is located at SA-20, 1801 N. Lynn St., Rosslyn,
Virginia 20522-2008. You may also be required to attend a
post specific security briefing upon arrival in country.
Upon arrival in Caracas, TDY personnel should contact the
Regional Security Office to determine the level of briefing
required.

SECURITY TRAINING
-----------------
All personnel transferring to an overseas location under
Chief of Mission authority or performing TDY for more than 30
days must complete appropriate overseas personal security
training prior to travel. You are required to provide
certification to the RSO that security training will be or
has been completed prior to arrival at Post.

ELECTRONIC DEVICES
------------------
Personnel who intend to bring US Government portable
microcomputers (laptops) for use in CAA or non-CAA areas must
notify RSO in advance. Personal Electronic Devices (PED),
Personal Digital Assistants (PDA) e.g. Palm Pilot, MP-3
players, etc. are NOT authorized in CAA spaces and are not
authorized connectivity within OpenNet unclassified or
classified networks, or stand-alone PCs.

PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS
---------------------
All passengers who enter Venezuela on official travel
(including third country nationals) require a visa. Official
travelers are prohibited from using tourist passports. DOD
personnel participating in GOV-approved deployments and
exercises, and arriving with military orders, are exempt from
the visa requirement.

Venezuelan immigration requires citizens of the United States
and certain other countries to have at least six months
validity remaining on their passports to enter Venezuela.
While this law has not been uniformly enforced, some U.S.
citizens have been denied entry. Ensure your passport has at
least six months validity from the date of arrival in
Venezuela.

COMPUTER POLICY
---------------
State Department TDY Visitors requiring OpenNet-Plus Systems
access during their stay should inform the control officer
prior to arrival. Caracas is a full Active Directory post, so


all users with existing OpenNet accounts can login using
their existing account and receive their e-mail via Outlook
Web Access (OWA). Users should confirm with their local IT
system staff, prior to departure that no roaming profiles or
login scripts are assigned to their user account. In special
cases a local account may be set up to provide OpenNet
access. Contact the control officer if this is required.
Visitors may bring a current (completed within the last year)
Systems Security certification briefing form or will be
required to attend the briefing and complete a Network Access
Request Form.

2. The following pertains to transportation and departures,
exchange rate, medical considerations, weather, and press.
For additional information, consult the Consular Information
Sheet for Venezuela, which can be found on the web at:
http://travel.state.gov/venezuela.html

CURRENCY / EXCHANGE RATE
------------------------
The exchange rate is USD 1 = 2144 Bolivares (Bs).
Visitors should bring a major credit card. Traveler's checks
are not recommended as they are honored in only a few
locations. The Embassy suggests that travelers try to obtain
local currency before departing the airport. Should the
airport exchange facility be closed, it is possible to
exchange cash at approved exchange offices near major hotel
chains in Caracas, (personal checks and traveler's checks are
not accepted). Based on currency laws hotels may no longer
provide accommodation exchange.

TRANSPORTATION
--------------
"Saeca Carlson Wagonlit" is the travel contractor for the
Embassy. If necessary, ask to use the telephone at the kiosk
to call the Embassy. Their kiosk is located downstairs in
front of the Continental/Copa Airlines counters.

DEPARTURE EXPENSES
------------------
An airport user fee of Bs. 94,080 (approx. $44) is levied
upon departure for holders of official and diplomatic
passports. Holders of tourist passports must pay the user
fee plus an exit tax, for a
total of Bs. 131,712 (approximately $62). Payment of both
must be made in Bolivares. In some cases the airport tax is
already included in the ticket. Please bring your ticket to
the Embassy travel office for confirmation.

CAR RENTAL
---------
Car rentals must be pre-authorized with the Agency
responsible for your visit.

MEDICAL
-------
Measles Vaccination. After February measles outbreak airport
authorities now require all departing travelers to show proof
of vaccination. Passengers may be directed to vaccination
kiosks if immunization cannot be proved. Enforcement appears
to be haphazard.

Tap water is considered contaminated. Drink only bottled
water or carbonated soft drinks and avoid ice. Do not eat raw
vegetables or fruits unless they have been disinfected,
peeled or cooked. Wash your hands often with hot, soapy
water.

Cases of dengue fever and malaria are reported throughout
Venezuela each year. Travelers planning to spend time
outdoors should bring insect repellent; wear long trousers;
and avoid wet areas. Information about Yellow Fever
vaccination requirements may be obtained from the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention's Internet site at
http://www.cdc.gov/travel.

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 07 months'
duration (one month without charge six chargeable) would be
counted as 0.5 for only the following services:

* Basic Package
* Community Liaison - CLO
* Health Services

If your sponsoring agency is not signed up for ICASS
services, 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 TDYers,
provides the agency ICASS billing code the TDY support
charges should be applied to, and authorizes 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 $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.

WEATHER
-------
Daytime temperatures in Caracas range between 75 and 85
degrees Fahrenheit. During the rainy season, roughly from
April through November, afternoon rain showers are common.
Evenings can be cool at any time of the year. Travelers
should bring a sweater or light jacket for evening outings,
and an umbrella, no matter the time of year.

COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE PRESS
-----------------------------
Travelers are reminded that the office of Public Affairs is
responsible for handling press arrangements for both mission
personnel and official visitors. Contact the Public Affairs
Officer or the Press Attach upon arrival if you believe you
may have contact with the press while in Venezuela.

DUDDY

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