Election for Governors and Mayors

WARDEN MESSAGE, U.S. EMBASSY LA PAZ, BOLIVIA, March 31, 2010 This warden message informs U.S. citizens traveling to and residing in Bolivia that on Sunday, April 4 (which is also Easter Sunday), Bolivia will be holding elections for mayors and governors that will affect business operations and activities throughout the country. Please review the following and make necessary arrangements to minimize any inconvenience to normal scheduling. In addition, the Embassy will be closed on Friday, April 2, in observance of Good Friday, a Bolivian holiday.

Beginning Friday, April 2, at midnight, through Monday, April 5, at noon, the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages will be suspended in observance of a "Ley Seca." Carrying firearms on the day of the election is illegal.

Beginning midnight Saturday, April 3, through midnight Sunday, April 4, no private vehicles or public transportation will be allowed on the road without prior authorization from the Electoral Court. Domestic flights will be cancelled, but international flights will be operating. Transportation services from the airport to La Paz will be limited to hotel shuttles. Travelers should arrange plans to avoid travel to/from/within Bolivia on Sunday, April 4, if possible.

U.S. citizens are reminded 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. U.S. citizens 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. U.S. citizens should stay current with media coverage of local events. 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, and as a result, there will be minimal municipal patrols. Criminals can be expected 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 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.

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 consularlapaz@state.gov or by telephone at (591-2) 216-8246 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, Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and Thursday, 8 a.m. to 12:30, and from 14:00 to 16:00). The Santa Cruz consular agency will be closed from March 31, 2010, to April 23, 2010. The Cochabamba consular agency can be reached at 591-4-411-6313 (Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.).

American Citizen Services Unit
U.S. Embassy La Paz, Bolivia

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