march to lapaz monday october 13
(Santa Cruz, Bolivia)
U.S. EMBASSY LA PAZ, BOLIVIA
October 10, 2008
This warden message is being issued to inform U.S. citizens traveling to and residing in Bolivia that starting Monday, October 13, government supporters from different regions of Bolivia will begin marching towards the city of La Paz to show support for the proposed new constitution. Due to these marches, there is a high potential for social unrest both in the city of La Paz and along the marchers' routes. Traffic is expected to be congested throughout the center of La Paz, and major roads towards La Paz may be affected by marchers walking from around the country. U.S. citizens are encouraged to defer non-essential travel to/within La Paz and to stay current with media coverage of local events. U.S. citizens should read the Country Specific Information on Bolivia, available at http://www.travel.state.gov, specifically the information under "Safety and Security."
U.S. citizens are reminded that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational between security forces, demonstrators, and bystanders, and escalate into violence. If you find yourself in the vicinity of a large gathering, it is recommended you leave the area immediately for your own safety.
In addition to the potential for civil unrest in La Paz, 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. 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 website 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 website: https://travelregistration.state.gov.
U.S. citizens should consult the latest Travel Alerts and Warnings and Worldwide Caution at the Department's website 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.
American Citizen Services Unit
U.S. Embassy La Paz, Bolivia