Kidnapping of Diplomat Spouse
by US Embassy
(La Paz, Bolivia)
WARDEN MESSAGE U.S. EMBASSY LA PAZ, BOLIVIA November 19, 2009
This warden message informs U.S. citizens traveling to and residing in Bolivia that, according to information provided by the Bolivian National Police (BNP), a foreign diplomat's spouse was kidnapped and forced to pay a ransom before being released. The incident occurred on November 13 around noon in the area of La Florida (La Paz) in the Zona Sur. While standing on a street corner near her home, the victim was approached by an armed female and forced into a nearby car. Calls were made to the family to pay a ransom. The BNP reports that the perpetrators may be non-Bolivian and are believed to have operated in the Zona Sur in the past. The BNP reportedly has two men and a woman in custody for questioning.
This is another reminder that such incidents can happen anyplace, anytime. It is important to vary your routes and times to minimize predictable behavior. Routines give potential kidnappers the opportunity to plan abductions. If you do not need a credit card or debit card, secure them in a safe area and do not carry them with you. Carry minimal amounts of cash.
In addition, remember the importance of calling a radio taxi rather than waving one down randomly. There are increased risks when taking a trufi, van, or bus as a means of transportation within the city. Further information is available through previous warden messages available at http://bolivia.usembassy.gov/embassynotices2009.html.
U.S. citizens 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: https://travelregistration.state.gov.
For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad 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.
U.S. citizens may contact the consular section of the U.S. Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia, via e-mail at email@example.com or by telephone at (591-2) 216-8297 during business hours (Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or (591-2) 216-8500 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, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 8 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.). The Santa Cruz consular agency can be reached by telephone at (591-3) 351-3477, and the Cochabamba consular agency can be reached by telephone 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 Citizen Services Unit
U.S. Embassy La Paz, Bolivia