August 10 Referendum

(Santa Cruz, Bolivia)


August 05, 2008

This Warden Message is being issued to inform U.S. citizens traveling to and residing in Bolivia that on Sunday, August 10, Bolivia will be holding a referendum that will affect business operations and activities throughout the country, and to alert Americans to the possibility of roadblocks, protests, and demonstrations surrounding the event. Please review the following and make the necessary arrangements to minimize any inconvenience.

Beginning Thursday, August 7, at midnight throughout Monday, August 11, at noon, the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages will be suspended. Carrying firearms on the day of the referendum is illegal. Beginning midnight Saturday, through midnight Sunday, no private vehicles or public transportation will be allowed on the road without prior authorization from the Electoral Court. Domestic flights will be cancelled, but international flights will be operating. Please note that the transportation services from the airport to the different cities in Bolivia will be limited to hotel shuttles. Travelers should arrange their plans so as to avoid travel to/from/within Bolivia on August 10, 2008, if possible. American citizens are reminded that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational between security forces, demonstrators, and bystanders, and escalate into violence. Americans are urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any protests. If you find yourself in the vicinity of a large gathering, it is recommended you leave the area immediately for your own safety. American citizens should stay current with media coverage of local events.

In addition to civil unrest in cities, it is not uncommon for roads between cities to be blocked by protesters or marchers. You could become a convenient target of opportunity. Please note that the police have limited capabilities outside major cities and communication is poor.

The police will be on a heightened alert for potential civil unrest, and as a result, there will be minimal municipal patrols. Criminals can be expected to take advantage of large crowds and use ruse or diversionary tactics to prey on potential street victims. Pick-pocketing, purse snatching, and car thefts are the most common street crimes during such periods. Everyone is advised to limit their cash on hand, unnecessary credit cards, jewelry, and other portable valuables.

American citizens may wish to access tips on emergency preparedness through the Department of Homeland Security's website at

Americans residing or traveling in Bolivia are encouraged to register and update their contact information at the U.S. Embassy in La Paz
and/ or the U.S. consular agencies in Cochabamba and Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Registration may be done online and can be done in advance of travel. Information on registering may be found at the Department of State's Consular Affairs website:

U.S. citizens should consult the Country Specific Information for Bolivia and the latest Travel Alerts and Warnings and Worldwide Caution at the Department's website at
Updated information on travel and security in Bolivia may also be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States or by calling 1-202-501-4444 outside the United States. During regular work hours, the American Citizens Services unit at the Embassy in La Paz may be reached at 591-2-216-8297. The consular agencies may be reached in Santa Cruz at 591-3-351-3477 and in Cochabamba at 591-4-411-6313.

We hope this information is useful to you. If we may provide further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

American Citizens Services Unit
U.S. Embassy La Paz, Bolivia

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