The United States State Department and United Kingdom Foreign Office have both issued warnings to their citizens not to travel to the Latin American country of Bolivia, which has been plagued by civil unrest and violent protests over the past few weeks.
The unrest, sparked by allegations of irregularities and fraud in the presidential election last month, has worsened in recent days, with Bolivian President Evo Morales stepping down and flying to Mexico after being told by the military to resign.
The US State Department has “ordered the departure of family members and authorized the departure of non-emergency U.S. government employees due to ongoing political instability in Bolivia,”according to an official statement.
The statement continued:
“The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Bolivia. There are recurring demonstrations, strikes, roadblocks, and marches in major cities in Bolivia. Roadblocks and strikes cut off traffic on main avenues, highways between cities, and airport access.
“Protestors in major cities are intermittently occupying or blocking access to public institutions and infrastructure, denying access to transportation hubs, banks, and other services. Some protests have resulted in violent confrontations, and local authorities have used crowd control measures to discourage protests.”
The UK Foreign Office released a similar statement, saying all inessential travel to the country should be canceled as the “political and security situation is very uncertain across Bolivia following the resignation of the president [Evo Morales] on 10 November … since the disputed elections in October”
UK citizens currently in Bolivia are advised to “avoid large crowds and public demonstrations, don’t attempt to cross blockades, and pay close attention to developments via local media and this travel advice.” They must also exercise extreme caution at all times, as “further protests are likely to occur at short notice and may turn violent without warning.”
Departing travelers should check with their airline to make sure their flights are due to leave as scheduled. The political situation has caused flight disruptions.