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Guatemala Travel Warning

Issued by U.S. Department of State

Feb 28, 2003

This Public Announcement is being issued to alert American citizens to the possibility of civil disturbances and blockades throughout Guatemala if negotiations between the Guatemalan government and striking teachers are not successful. This Announcement expires on May 25, 2003.

Public school teachers have been protesting throughout Guatemala, conducting demonstrations in front of government buildings in the capital and other major cities and temporarily blockading roads. On February 25, 2003, demonstrators blocked entrances into La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City. Alternate arrangements have been made for passenger entry into the terminal. However, some major airlines have cancelled afternoon flights into Guatemala City, which will disrupt travel for several days. Major highways leading into Guatemala from border crossings with Mexico, El Salvador, and Honduras have been blocked intermittently, resulting in closure of several Guatemalan immigration checkpoints.

On Monday, February 24, 2003, demonstrators also disrupted the operation of the regional airport in Flores, which serves the Tikal National Park area, requiring rerouting of passengers to a secondary entrance of the airport. The Flores airport has now been closed due to protestors.

As large demonstrations may continue throughout the country, American citizens visiting or residing in Guatemala are advised that it may be more difficult to move about freely and safely throughout the country and that highway travel and movement within cities may be impeded due to demonstrators or roadblocks. Until further notice, American citizens planning to visit and those visiting or residing in Guatemala should monitor local media reports to see if there is protest activity that justifies suspension of travel.

For further information on travel to Guatemala, please consult the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet, available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov. The U.S. Embassy is located in Guatemala at 7-01 Avenida de la Reforma, Zone 10; telephone (011-502-331-1541; website at http://usembassy.state.gov/guatemala.

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