Posted by: sean | July 15, 2006

State Department or Travel Agency?

I’ve been pretty disappointed with the US Government in general and the Embassy here in Beirut in particular. They’ve been keeping office hours (when I called them right after the airport was bombed, they said to call back at 8:30, because they weren’t open), with the exception of being open today, and have been less than helpful in general.

I registered with them, and they’ve been sending me “Warden Messages,” by email. I’ve yet to receive any phone messages or calls, so I’m not sure what those who don’t have access to email are supposed to do. In any case, I received a message about a “repatriation” plan to a neighboring country (most likely, a boat to Cyprus). I was suprised to find out that this service is not free. Out of a 7-line message from the State Department, 4 lines are about paying them back for this service rendered:

The Department of State reminds American citizens that the U.S. government does not provide no-cost transportation but does have the authority to provide repatriation loans to those in financial need. For the portion of your trip directly handled by the U.S. Government we will ask you to sign a promissory note and we will bill you at a later date. In a subsequent message, when we have specific details about the transporation arrangments, we will inform you about the costs you will incur. We will also work with commercial aircraft to ensure that they have adequate flights to help you depart Cyprus and connect to your final destination.

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Responses

  1. That is such bullshit! The state department should use the 210Million they are gaining from the sale of jet fuel to Israel in order to “repatriate” you guys. Good luck…

  2. Typical U.S. Embassy work… I’m an American living in Kuwait, and the Embassy here is the same. (I think their main mission is commercial, not taking care of their citizens.)

    On the other hand, there were hundreds of Kuwaitis vacationing in Lebanon last week, and the Kuwaiti embassy officials there were available around the clock and quickly helped people get out to Syria safely.

  3. I would sign their garbage contracts just to get the hell out but tell them to go piss up a rope when they come to collect. I’d countersue and take that case all the way to the Supreme Court. I mean that’s extortion from a US citizen, is it not?


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