ongoing civil unrest in bolivia
(Santa Cruz, Bolivia)
U.S. EMBASSY LA PAZ, BOLIVIA
September 11, 2008
This Warden message is being issued to inform U.S. citizens traveling to and residing in Bolivia that there is ongoing civil unrest in several departments of Bolivia, as well as blockades of the road access to the airports of Trompillo and Viru Viru in Santa Cruz.
American citizens should be aware of possible mass street demonstrations and blockades if planning travel to or within Bolivia. Roadblocks may also affect the route to and from El Alto International Airport in La Paz with little or no prior notice. American citizens are encouraged to avoid the areas where these mass assemblies and demonstrations are expected to occur. Under no circumstances should anyone attempt to run a roadblock. 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 Airlines (AA) has cancelled its incoming/outgoing flights
to/from Miami which were scheduled for Friday, September 12, and
Saturday, September 13, 2008. American Airlines suggests that those
travelers affected by these flight cancellations should contact AA via 800-100229 in Bolivia or http://www.aa.com to reschedule their
flights. Please note that as of September 11, 2008, all other airlines that fly in and out of Bolivia are flying on regular schedules.
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.
The police are 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.
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.
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. Depending on local conditions, this may continue into next week. 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.
Americans residing or traveling in Bolivia are encouraged to 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:
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.
American Citizen Services Unit
U.S. Embassy La Paz, Bolivia