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Brazil Public Announcement

Issued by US Department of State

Jul 05, 2007

This Public Announcement is being issued to alert American citizens about the Pan American Games taking place in and around Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from July 13-29, 2007. The popularity of the Pan Am Games in the Western Hemisphere is expected to attract fans to Rio de Janeiro. Americans planning travel to Rio de Janeiro during this timeframe are strongly advised to be aware of game dates and locations, and take appropriate measures to safeguard their personal safety and property.

All American citizens traveling to Brazil by air or sea must be in possession of a valid passport with a valid Brazilian visa. Brazilian visas must be used within 90 days of issuance or are invalid. Brazil requires Yellow Fever vaccination for any traveler transiting through some Latin American countries. To learn more about country-specific entry requirements, please visit http://www.travel.state.gov.

The Pan Am Games will affect the busy tourist season in July; increased demands on services may strain the availability of taxis, emergency medical response, and other public services. U.S. citizens should take this into consideration in planning travel to Rio de Janeiro. More information about the games, including match dates and locations, is available at http://www.cob.org.br/pan2007.holidays.

Rio de Janeiro continues to experience a high incidence of violent crime. Tourists are particularly vulnerable to street thefts and robberies at the major tourist attractions and the main beaches in the city, as well as areas adjacent to these popular destinations. Walking on the beaches is very dangerous at night. During the day, travelers are advised not to take valuable possessions to the beach. All travelers are urged to protect valuable personal items at all times, including passports, credit cards, jewelry, and other personal valuables, in order to guard against loss or theft.

Shantytowns, known as favelas, are interspersed with tourist areas in Rio. The government has recently attempted to reestablish control in these areas, leading to firefights with automatic weapons between drug gangs and police. Given the high caliber of the weapons, stray bullets from firefights in favelas have killed a number of people in other parts of the city. On June 25, 2007, Rio's international airport was shutdown for a short period of time due to police action in a nearby favela.

Incidents affecting tourists in 2006 included the robbery of cars and of a tourist bus going into the city from the airport, and the murder of a Portuguese tourist at 8:30 a.m. on Copacabana beach. Drug gangs often are responsible for violence, such as the burning of public buses in 2005 that killed some passengers. While no U.S. citizens were injured, visitors and residents alike should be aware that such incidents do pose a threat and could result in closed shops and disrupted municipal services.

In Rio de Janeiro city, motorists are allowed to treat stoplights as stop signs between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. to protect against holdups at intersections. While most police officials are honest, corrupt police officials extorted money from American tourists in 2006. All incidents should be reported to the Tourist Police, who can be reached at 3399-7170/71/72/73.

The U.S. Government remains concerned about the heightened threat of terrorist attacks against U.S. citizens and interests abroad. Any large-scale public events like the Pan American Games, therefore, could be the focus of terrorist acts or other forms of violence. U.S. citizens planning to attend matches or participate in other large-scale public gatherings during the Pan American Games are advised to use caution and stay alert to their surroundings at all times. Even gatherings intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. Practicing personal safety measures can effectively reduce the risk of being a victim of violent crime, sexual assault, general assault, or extortion.

The Department of State urges Americans traveling overseas to ensure they have adequate medical insurance, including insurance for medical evacuations. Medicare recipients should know that Medicare does not cover medical expenses abroad. U.S. citizens are urged to exercise personal safety at all times and to travel with a friend or companion when visiting unfamiliar places.

For more information, see the State Department's flyer "Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad" (http://travel.state.gov).

The Department of State urges all travelers to be up to date on immunizations. Special considerations for international travel can be viewed at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. Outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases are not uncommon in Brazil; currently, there are outbreaks of measles and rubella. Adult boosters of certain childhood vaccines may be recommended. It is recommended that travelers consult with their personal health care provider at least one month before traveling.

U.S. citizens living in or traveling to Brazil are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate closest to their planned destination through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs. Americans without internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.

Americans citizens may also obtain up-to-date information and general travel information by calling 1-888-407-4747 (toll free for calls made within the United States or Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 from overseas.

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