Security Message for U.S. Citizens – October 17th Demonstrations
(Santa Cruz, Bolivia)
This Security Message informs U.S. citizens traveling to and residing in Bolivia that the U.S. Embassy in La Paz will not be providing non-emergency consular services to the general public on Thursday, October 17, 2013, due to demonstrations and road blockades scheduled to take place near the U.S. Embassy. The streets in front of and surrounding the U.S. Embassy may be either restricted or filled with protesters; U.S. citizens are advised to avoid the area during the demonstration. As a precautionary measure, the consular agencies in Cochabamba and Santa Cruz also will not be providing non-emergency consular services to the general public on October 17, 2013.
On October 17, 2013, civic organizations plan to protest in front of the U.S. Embassy to mark the 10th anniversary of "Black October" (October 2003 when government forces tried to break a blockade of La Paz which resulted in the death of more than 60 people).
U.S. citizens in Bolivia requiring emergency assistance should contact the Embassy at 591-2- 216-8000, and they will be connected to the Embassy Duty Officer for assistance.
The U.S. Embassy in La Paz and the consular agencies in Cochabamba and Santa Cruz anticipate reopening on Friday, October 18, 2013 however, before traveling to the Embassy or Consular Agencies, please check the U.S. Embassy website to confirm they have resumed non-emergency services (such as passport renewal and notarials) for the general public.
The U.S. Embassy reminds you that demonstrations and road blockades are not unusual in Bolivia, and even though they might be intended to be peaceful, they can turn confrontational between security forces, demonstrators, and bystanders, and escalate into violence. You should avoid them if at all possible. If you find yourself in the vicinity of a large gathering, you should leave the area immediately for your own safety. Be alert and aware of your surroundings and pay attention to what the local media have to say. Please note that the police have limited capabilities outside major cities and communication is poor.
U.S. citizens are reminded of the following emergency preparedness advice and directives:
· Maintain an adequate supply of food, water, medicines, and any other necessary items for your family on hand in your home.
· Fill your vehicle with gas and maintain at least a half-filled tank at all times.
· Avoid areas where roadblocks and demonstrations are occurring.
· Do not attempt to run blockades.
· Monitor local media for updates.
You can stay in touch and get Embassy updates by checking the Embassy website.
Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, by calling the regular toll line at 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 are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). U.S. citizens without internet access may enroll directly at the nearest U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the embassy/consulates to contact them in case of emergency. Stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook, and download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App to have travel information at your fingertips.
You can contact the American Citizen Services Unit at the U.S. Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia, via e-mail at ConsularLaPazACS@state.gov or by telephone at 591-2-216-8246 during regular business hours (Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or 591-2-216-8000 after hours and on weekends. The U.S. Embassy is located at 2780 Arce Avenue in La Paz, Bolivia, and is open to the public by appointment on Monday through Thursday from 08:00 to 12:30, and Thursdays from 14:00 to 16:00. You can schedule a non-emergency appointment by visiting this website.
The Embassy operates two Consular Agencies in the cities of Santa Cruz and Cochabamba, Bolivia. These agencies can also provide assistance to U.S. citizens. The Santa Cruz Consular Agency is located on Roque Aguilera Avenue #146 (3rd ring). You can contact the Santa Cruz Consular Agency by telephone at 591-3-351-3477, during regular business hours (Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.). The Cochabamba Consular Agency is located in Edificio Saal, Avenida Pando 1122, 1st Floor. You can contact the Cochabamba Consular Agency by telephone at 591-4-411-6313, during regular business hours (Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Wednesday, 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.). If you wish to visit the Consular Agencies for a non-emergency matter, please schedule an appointment through the US Embassy website.