Cablegate: Codel Engel Visit to Chile: November 9-11, 2008


DE RUEHSG #0987/01 3121818
O 071818Z NOV 08




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 117041

1. Embassy Santiago warmly welcomes Representative Eliot
Engel (D-NY), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Western
Hemisphere, House Foreign Affairs Committee, and his
congressional delegation, from 11/09/2008 to 11/11/2008 as
requested reftel. The purpose of the visit is to meet with
government and non-government officials regarding political
developments, regional issues and bilateral relations with

2. Control Officer for the visit is Jennifer Spande,
Political Officer, telephone numbers: office (56-2)
330-3395, cell (56-9) 9159-8516, home (56-2) 241-8038, and
fax (56-2) 330-3118. Control Officer can be reached 24 hours
a day via Post 1, telephone (56-2) 330-3321. During business
hours it is best to reach the Control Officer via the Embassy
switchboard (56-2) 330-3000. Deputy Control Officer is Kerri
Olsen, Political Officer, telephone numbers: office (56-2)
330-3428, cell (56-9) 8888-0775, home (56-2) 233-6839, and
fax (56-2) 330-3118. Administrative point of contact is
Carlos Lopez, (56-2) 330-3377, cell (56-9) 9158-4654. Point
of contact for budget and funding is Phil Anstead, (56-2)
330-3358, cell (56-9) 9139-9097.

3. The Embassy has arranged for vehicles and Embassy
personnel to meet the delegation at the airport on November
9. Hotel accommodations have been arranged (11/9/2008 to
11/11/2008) at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Av. Presidente Kennedy
4601, Las Condes, Santiago, telephone (56-2) 950-1234. The
daily rate is $170 USD with buffet breakfast included. The
hotel will bill without 19 percent value-added tax if
arrangements are made to be paid in USD and if a U.S.
passport is presented at the time of check-in. The hotel
control room will be staffed by U.S. Embassy personnel and
equipped with computers, telephones and office supplies for
the delegation's use.

4. The Embassy, at Representative Engel's request, is
arranging meetings and will provide a finalized schedule
directly to the delegation upon arrival. Embassy will also
arrange transportation for the delegation's meetings.

5. Per Diem and Cash Exchanges: Embassy personnel will
disburse per diem to the delegation in local currency at the
hotel, the evening of November 9. Embassy will also provide
accommodation exchange from 2200 until 2300 on November 9 and
again from 0630 until 0830 on November 11. In addition,
currency exchanges can be made at the hotel front desk. The
Embassy has a 24-hour ATM machine, which can access any U.S.
account served by the local bank. Currency received will be
Chilean pesos at the current rate of exchange. ATMs are
located conveniently around Santiago and in other
metropolitan areas in Chile. Visitors are urged to bring an
ATM card to Post since this is the most convenient (and many
times most economical) way to change money.

6. Travelers are reminded that Santiago's Public Affairs
Section is responsible for handling all in-country press
arrangements for both Mission personnel and official
visitors. Media inquiries or requests for interviews made
directly to the visitor during the course of a visit should
be directed to the Embassy Press Attache, Timothy Stater,
telephone (56-2) 330-3350. Where contact with the media
would serve to promote USG interests, Public Affairs will
work with visitors prior to their arrival to determine the
desired level or arrangements for contact with the press.
On-site Public Affairs staff is also available to assist
visitors and delegations at meetings where media coverage is

7. Personnel who intend to bring U.S. Government laptops for
use in CAA or non-CAA areas must notify Post's ISSO and RSO
in advance of travel. Personal Electronic Devices (PED),
Personal Digital Assistant's (PDA) e.g., Blackberries,
iPhones, 'Palm Pilots', MP-3 players, etc. are NOT authorized
in CAA spaces and are not authorized connectivity within
OpenNet unclassified or classified networks, or stand-alone
classified PC's.

8. The Embassy community has a small commissary/gift shop,
which is available to official visitors.

9. Travelers with diplomatic or official passports must
obtain diplomatic or official entry visas through a Chilean
embassy overseas or CA/PPT/SIA in Washington. Those with
tourist passports do not need visas, and may enter on tourist
cards filled out on the airplane. Travelers with tourist
passports are required to pay a one time reciprocity fee of
$131.00 U.S. dollars each to enter the country.

10. The climate in Chile is temperate, but milder than that
of Washington. The seasons in Chile are reversed. Summer
(December, January, February) temperatures usually vary
between 49 degrees (mornings and evenings) and 85 degrees
during the day; winter (June, July August) temperatures range
between a minimum of 38 and maximum of 64. Most
precipitation occurs during the winter months. Except for
the hottest summer nights, evenings tend to be substantially
cooler than the days.

11. All areas of Santiago are affected by high pollution,
although the area around the Embassy has slightly better air
quality than the more congested areas in the city. The
pollution appears as heavy smog in the winter and dust in the
summer. Pollution levels rise to unacceptable levels an
average of five to six times per year. The major health
effects include difficulties with breathing and aggravation
of existing respiratory, cardiovascular, allergic and
asthmatic problems. This is particularly true for the
elderly and children, and for those with confirmed asthmatic
and allergic symptoms. Contact-lens wearers sometimes find
their eyes are more easily irritated here. The most severe
pollution occurs from May to October.

12. The intensity of the sun is particularly pronounced in
Santiago. Travelers should travel with good sunglasses, hats
and sun block if they anticipate spending much time outdoors.

13. In order to drive a vehicle in Chile, you must have an
international driver's license. Failure to adhere to this
may result in arrest and confiscation of the rental vehicle.

14. After the terrorist attacks of September 11th, there is
currently a very real possibility for violent actions against
United States citizens and interests throughout the world.
Per reftel request, Embassy informs the delegation that its
overall threat assessment for Chile remains medium. We urge
all Embassy visitors to Chile to maintain a high level of
vigilance and to take appropriate steps to reduce potential

15. The Embassy has advised in a Warden message to Americans
in Chile that extremists in the tri-border area (Brazil,
ArgQna and Paraguay) may have received instructions in
mid-October 2000 to begin efforts to collect information on
U.S. business people and government officials in the southern
cone of South America. This information would be used to
prepare contingency plans for possible kidnappings or attacks
in the event terrorists strike in the southern cone. We take
this information very seriously. Because of the Embassy's
special visibility, we urge all personnel to maintain a high
level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to reduce
potential vulnerability.

16. Visitors should be aware of the criminal environment in
Santiago, which is rated medium for USG employees. Street
crime, common to many South American cities, is a problem.
One should be particularly alert in the business/commercial
crowded areas. We recommend visitors:

-- Be attentive to your surroundings -- people, vehicles,
packages, etc.

-- Maintain a low profile, particularly in busy tourist areas.

-- Vary your routes and times for all required travel.

-- Treat mail or other deliveries from unfamiliar sources
with suspicion.

-- Be circumspect about information you provide about
yourself to strangers or in the presence of strangers.

© Scoop Media

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