civil unrest in bolivia 10 september 2008


(Santa Cruz, Bolivia)

WARDEN MESSAGE

U.S. EMBASSY LA PAZ, BOLIVIA
September 10, 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 escalating civil unrest, demonstrations, and blockades in the departments of Beni, Santa Cruz, Chuquisaca, Pando and Tarija.

According to credible reports, the road access to the airports of
Trompillo and Viru Viru in Santa Cruz have been blocked, and the
airports in Riberalta, Trinidad, and Guayaramerín in the department of Beni have been closed by civic groups. American citizens should stay current with media coverage of local events.
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.

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.

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.

Please note that as announced in the warden message released on Sept. 4, 2008, the Consular Agencies in Cochabamba and Santa Cruz will not be open to the public during the week of September 8 through September 12, 2008. Persons seeking emergency services may directly contact the American Citizen Services Unit, U.S. Embassy, in La Paz at (2) 216-8297 or via email at USCit.Services.Bolivia@gmail.com.

In addition to civil unrest in cities, it is not uncommon for roads
between cities to be blocked by protesters or marchers. If you are
planning to travel by land (bus, rented vehicle or other), please
reconsider your travel plans and check with the local police ("Unidad Operativa de Transito") to see if the road to your destination is open. 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.

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 591-3-411-6313.

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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