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Bolivia Public Announcement

Issued by US Department of State

Dec 19, 2005

This Public Announcement is being issued to inform U.S. Citizens traveling to and residing in Bolivia of national elections scheduled for December 18, 2005, and to alert Americans to the possibility of roadblocks, protests and demonstrations surrounding the event. This Public Announcement expires on February 20, 2006.

As noted in the Consular Information Sheet for Bolivia, protests, strikes and other civic actions can occur at any time and disrupt transportation on a local and national level. This is particularly true before, during and after elections or other changes in government. While protest actions generally begin peacefully, they have the potential to become violent. The police have used tear gas to break up protests. In addition to rallies and street demonstrations, protesters sometimes block roads; they sometimes react with force when travelers attempt to pass through or go around roadblocks and occasionally have used the threat of explosives to press their point.

Roadblocks and demonstrations in June 2005 led to the closure of the La Paz airport, resulting in cancellation and diversion of flights and other inconveniences to travelers. U.S. citizens planning travel to or from Bolivia during this timeframe should take into consideration the possibility of disruptions to air service in and out of La Paz and other airports. Americans should monitor Bolivian media reports for updates. The Embassy strongly recommends that U.S. citizens avoid areas where roadblocks or public demonstrations are occurring or planned, including political rallies, given press reports of violence at some rallies in various parts of Bolivia.

U.S. citizens who find themselves in a roadblock should not attempt to run the roadblock, as this may aggravate the situation and lead to physical harm. Taking alternative, safe routes or returning to where the travel started may be the safest courses of action under these circumstances. U.S. citizens embarking on road trips should monitor news reports and may contact the American Citizen Services Unit of the U.S. Embassy in La Paz at (591)(2)(216-8297 or the U.S. consular agencies in Cochabamba at (591)(4)425-6714 and/or Santa Cruz at (591) (3) 351-3477 for updates. Given that roadblocks may occur without warning and have stranded travelers for several days, travelers should take extra food and water. The U.S. Embassy also advises its employees to maintain at least one weeks supply of drinking water and canned food in case roadblocks affect supplies, as occurred in June 2005. For more information on emergency preparedness, please consult the Federal Emergency Management Authority (FEMA) Web site at http://www.fema.gov/. That Web site includes a Spanish language version.

Americans living 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 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 Consular Information Sheet for Bolivia and the latest Worldwide Caution Public Announcement at the Department's Internet 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.

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