Bolivia Protests: U.S. Embassy Warden Message -- 12/30/2010

WARDEN MESSAGE - U.S. EMBASSY LA PAZ, BOLIVIA December 30, 2010 This warden message informs U.S. citizens traveling to and residing in Bolivia of possible demonstrations and roadblocks affecting travel nationwide.

In response to a gas price hike announced by the Bolivian government on December 26, demonstrations and roadblocks are anticipated in major cities and roadways throughout Bolivia on December 30 and 31. Transportation unions have also announced a 24-hour strike beginning December 30. The U.S. Embassy expects the protests to particularly affect the downtown areas of La Paz, El Alto, Santa Cruz, Oruro, and Cochabamba.

The U.S. Embassy urges you to exercise caution when traveling within Bolivia. If you do decide to travel, you should verify your routes and check news reports prior to departing for updates on possible protest and blockade locations.

The U.S. Embassy reminds you that demonstrations and road blockades are not unusual in Bolivia and can emerge with little or no prior notice. Even though they might be intended to be peaceful they can turn confrontational between security forces, demonstrators, and bystanders, and escalate into violence. We urge you to avoid the areas of demonstrations and to exercise caution if you are 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.

The U.S. Embassy encourages you to register and update your 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: https://travelregistration.state.gov.

For the latest security information, you should regularly monitor the Department's internet website at http://travel.state.gov where the current worldwide caution, travel warnings and travel alerts can be found. Additional information is available in the country specific information for Bolivia at http://travel.state.gov and on the embassy web page at http://bolivia.usembassy.gov.

Current information on travel and security in Bolivia may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States, or, from overseas, 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). U.S. citizens traveling or residing overseas are encouraged to register with the appropriate U.S. embassy or consulate on the State Department's travel registration web site at https://travelregistration.state.gov.

You may contact the consular section of the U.S. Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia, via e-mail at consularlapaz@state.gov or by telephone at (591-2) 216-8246 during business hours (Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or (591) 715-33713 after hours and on weekends. The consular section is located in the U.S. Embassy at 2780 Arce Avenue in La Paz, Bolivia, and is open to the public Monday through Thursday from 08:00 to 12:30, and Thursdays from 14:00 to 16:00. The Santa Cruz consular agency can be reached by telephone at (591-3) 351-3477. The Cochabamba consular agency is temporarily closed.

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

Comments for Bolivia Protests: U.S. Embassy Warden Message -- 12/30/2010

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Dec 31, 2010
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Peaceful Protests in Tarija
by: BoliviaBella

Thanks for that great update from Tarija, Martin!

Dec 31, 2010
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Peaceful Protests in Tarija
by: Martin

Obviously throughout Bolivia the people are concerned about rising costs related to the recent fuel price increase and a consequent increase in transport costs.

Here in Tarija the transportistas and choffers staged a protest yesterday morning but it was peaceful. There were no micro services all day but most taxis and trufis were back in business in the afternoon. Today, apart from the prices being higher, life is back to normal.

At present you can expect that travel by road to other cities may be disrupted by bloqueos and therefore if you have time constraints on your travel plans it is better to look at flying if possible.

If you live in Santra Cruz, La Paz, or Cochabamba try to stay in your local area and avoid the demonstrations.

Another bit of advice is to move to Tarija and enjoy the tranquility that is characteritic of this haven in the south. :)

You can read more about life in Tarija on my wife's blog Experience Bolivia. http://www.boliviaexperience.blogspot.com

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