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Viewing cable 08SANJOSE895, GOCR: VENEZUELANS FACILITATING ARAB TRAVEL WITH

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08SANJOSE895 2008-11-14 22:10 2011-03-07 18:06 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy San Jose
Appears in these articles:
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-06/Investigacion/NotasDestacadas/Investigacion2702320.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-06/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2702325.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-06/Investigacion/NotaPrincipal/Investigacion2702324.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-06/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2702326.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-06/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2702327.aspx
VZCZCXYZ0034
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSJ #0895 3192221
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 142221Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0273
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1138
RHMFISS/US CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SAN JOSE 000895 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/CEN, WHA/AND, WHA/PPC, NEA AND CA 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/20/2008 
TAGS: PREL PTER PINR ASEC KCRM KFRD VZ CS
SUBJECT: GOCR: VENEZUELANS FACILITATING ARAB TRAVEL WITH 
BRV PASSPORTS 
 
REF: SAN JOSE 882 (NOTAL) 
 
Classified By: DCM Peter M. Brennan for reason 1.4(d). 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY:  Mario Zamora, head of the GOCR General 
Directorate of Immigration (DGI, acronym in Spanish), told us 
on October 30 that Costa Rica had seen a small (undefined) 
number of non-Venezuelan-born Arabs traveling with real 
Venezuelan passports, using Arab names.  According to Zamora, 
Venezuela is issuing "courtesy" passports to persons 
affiliated with OPEC offices in Caracas.  Zamora recognized 
that this practice could mask or facilitate terrorist travel 
to the U.S. END SUMMARY. 
 
2. (C) Zamora told us that the DGI became aware of Venezuela 
using passports as a political tool from Venezuelan refugees 
seeking asylum in Costa Rica.  Those who oppose Chavez have 
trouble getting passports, which allows the BRV to limit 
travel of the opposition.  However, as part of the courtesies 
that the Chavez government extends to OPEC members, the BRV 
issues Venezuelan passports to personnel in the OPEC offices 
in Caracas to help facilitate their travel in Latin America. 
The idea is that a Venezuelan passport will not be 
scrutinized as closely as, for example, an Iraqi passport, 
according to Zamora. 
 
3. (C) At this point, Zamora has not detected indications of 
terrorist movement.  However, he did not discount that the 
"terror angle" was possible. 
 
4. (C) COMMENT:  We are passing along the information that 
Zamora provided regarding Venezuelan passports, as well as 
reftel on Zamora's readout on the fallout of Ecuador dropping 
its tourist visa requirements, as anecdotal evidence of 
potential areas of security concern for the U.S.  We would 
appreciate knowing whether Embassy Caracas can confirm this 
use of BRV passports, and whether the BRV is extending this 
"courtesy" to legitimate OPEC members or whether the 
government is giving out passports more liberally.  Zamora is 
a credible and serious interlocutor on all 
immigration-related security issues.  If there is something 
to this BRV passport gambit, we want to work with him to help 
stop it. END COMMENT. 
CIANCHETTE