autonomy referendum tarija 22 june 2008

WARDEN MESSAGE

U.S. EMBASSY LA PAZ, BOLIVIA
June 18, 2008

This Warden message is being issued to inform U.S. citizens traveling to and residing in Bolivia that there is a higher potential for civi unrest, demonstrations, and blockades on June 22, when an autonomy referendum is scheduled in the Department of Tarija. We ask American citizens to read the country-specific information on Bolivia, available at http://www.travel.state.gov, specifically the information under "Safety and Security."

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. Traffic is expected to be congested throughout all major cities. Because the police will be involved in addressing potential civil unrest, there will be minimal municipal patrols. As a result, you can expect criminals 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 web site at
http://www.dhs.gov/xcitizens/editorial_0711.shtm.

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 web site:
https://travelregistration.state.gov.

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 web site at http://travel.state.gov.
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.

Sincerely,
American Citizen Services Unit
U.S. Embassy La Paz, Bolivia

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