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Cablegate: Argentina: Staffdel Meacham, Aug 5-8, 2008

VZCZCXYZ0005
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #1069/01 2170947
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 040947Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 1689

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001069

DEPARTMENT FOR H, PATRICIA DIGGS
DEPARTMENT FOR RM/F/DFS/FO/AA/CAA

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OREP AMGT ASEC AFIN AR
SUBJECT: ARGENTINA: STAFFDEL MEACHAM, AUG 5-8, 2008

REF: SECSTATE 82400

1. The Ambassador warmly welcomes Mr. Carl Meacham, Professional
Staff Member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The purpose of
the trip is to meet with leading Argentine government officials,
legislators, and representatives of civil society organizations.

2. Control Officer will be Pickering Fellow Anthony Diaz. Email:
DiazA1@state.gov. Embassy address: Av. Colombia 4300, Cellphone:
(011-54-9-11) 4172-7440; Home Phone: (011-54-11) 4777-4825. Embassy
Phone (011-54-11) 5777-4234. Embassy Hours: 08:45 am to 05:45 pm.

Administrative point of contact will be Management Officer Dorothy
Sarro. Email: SarroDK@state.gov, Cellphone: (011-54-9-11)
4198-8662; Home Phone: (011-54-11) 4802-6607.

3. Post has secured reservations at the following hotel:

Marriott Plaza Hotel
Florida 1005
Buenos Aires
C1005aau Argentina
Phone: 54 11 4318 3000
Fax: 54 11 4318 3008
Arrival date: August 5, 2008
Departure date: August 7, 2008
Nights: 2
1 standard non-smoking room
Confirmation number: 84387028

Hotel rate for standard room: usd 150.00 + 21% taxes= usd 182.00
breakfast is included. Cancellation policy is as follows:
Cancellations must be made within 24 hours of arrival otherwise the
hotel will charge for one night stay.
Late checkout (6pm) requests will be granted depending on
availability or can be guaranteed for half the daily rate. Post will
provide meet and greet assistance and transportation throughout the
Staffdel's stay in Argentina.

4. Visas: Visitors are reminded that Argentina requires visas in
U.S. diplomatic and official passports for official travel. Persons
traveling on official business and carrying diplomatic or official
passports who arrive without a valid visa may be denied entry and
sent back to point of origin. The Embassy is unable to secure entry
of travelers who arrive without visas.

5. Airport tax: Official visitors, holding diplomatic or regular
passports, are required to pay the airport tax. For international
flights, the tax is us $18 per passenger (vat-exempt) or peso
equivalent, payable in cash, with traveler's checks or credit cards.


6. Threat assessment:

A. Political violence/terrorism: liaison with host government
police and security forces indicate there is little threat to U.S.
citizens (official visitors, business visitors, tourists) from
indigenous terrorist organizations in Argentina. There are no
violent domestic groups currently active in this country that are
specifically targeting U.S. interests. However, given the presence
of members of and support for extremist international terrorist
groups such as Hizbollah in the tri-border region of Argentina
(Misiones province), visitors here cannot discount the possibility
of terrorist activity, to include random acts of anti-American
violence.

B. Crime: Petty street crime in the city of Buenos Aires and the
immediate suburbs continues to be a problem for residents and
visitors alike. Burglaries in the more fashionable suburbs have been
a particular problem. Visitors to the city of Buenos Aires should be
aware of problems with hotel security (i.e. thefts from room) and
pickpockets or purse snatching on the streets and public
transportation (buses and trains). Pickpockets often work in pairs
and employ a variety of ruses to victimize the unsuspecting visitor.
In recent years, most crime affecting visitors has been
non-violent; aggravated robberies, shootings, etc., while not
completely unheard of in Buenos Aires were nonetheless uncommon.
Recently, however, incidents of armed invasions of restaurants,
shops and residences by criminal groups are being observed with
greater frequency, and as a result, it is recommended that due
caution be exercised when traveling about the city. However, in
general, the crime level in Buenos Aires is less severe than large
U.S. cities.

Pickpockets often work in pairs and employ a variety of ruses to
victimize the unsuspecting visitor. In recent years, most crime
affecting visitors has been non-violent; aggravated robberies,
shootings, etc., while not completely unheard of in Buenos Aires
were nonetheless uncommon. Recently, however, incidents of armed
invasions of restaurants, shops and residences by criminal groups
are being observed with greater frequency, and as a result, it is
recommended that due caution be exercised when traveling about the
city. However, in general, the crime level in Buenos Aires is less
severe than large U.S. cities.

7. Accommodation exchange in pesos will be provided by control
officer upon arrival.

8. Telephone Calls: Visitors should bring fund cites or credit card
to cover the cost of official international and in-country long
distance telephone calls. International calling cards are
recommended.

9. Laptop Computers/Digital Cameras: Laptops/palm pilots, cellular
phones and other electronic devices may not be brought into the
Embassy without the prior approval of the regional security office.
Personally owned laptops/palm pilots may not/not be used in the
Embassy. USG-owned laptops may only be used in controlled access
areas (CAA) if the user certifies that the computer has been
continuously under the personal control of a cleared American
throughout transit. If this requirement is not met, the laptop can
only be used outside of the CAA. USG-owned palm pilots are under
the same restrictions as cellular phones and other electronic
devices, and may not be utilized within the CAA. At the embassy,
all USG issued or personal cellular phones must be left outside of
the CAA. Use of cellular phones outside of the CAA is not
restricted. It should be noted that if traveler is bringing a
cellular phone into the country, argentine law requires the traveler
to declare the phone, including its value, when filling out the
customs and immigration declaration form.

10. For further general information regarding travel to Argentina,
travelers should consult the department of state internet site at
http://travel.state.gov/, which includes the latest consular
information sheet for Argentina.

11. This telegram has been cleared by the Deputy Chief of Mission.

12. Visit the Embassy Buenos Aires classified webpage at:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/wha/buenosaires

WAYNE
[hng1]This is for Meacham.

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