U.S. State Department issues travel alert for Bolivia

August 13th, 2010 - 4:51 am ICT by BNO News  

WASHINGTON, D.C. (BNO NEWS) – The U.S. Department of State, through the Bureau of Consular Affairs, issued on Thursday a travel alert to Bolivia due to security situations in the regions of Potosi, Oruro and Uyini.

During the last three weeks, civic groups of the Potosi, Uyini and Oruro regions have protested against the Bolivian government over a border dispute and due to the government’s failure to follow development programs there.

Protestors erected roadblocks among major city routes, obstructing travel to and from these areas. For this reason, thousands of people and tourists have been trapped by the roadblocks which have been erected for 16 days.

The region is suffering from a limited supply of food, water and medications. Looting is highly probable to occur too. Protesters have used dynamite and hunger strikes to call attention to their demand. They have also threatened to extend the blockades and public demonstrations to La Paz unless they’re demands are met.

The State Department warns U.S. citizens to make travel arrangements to the Bolivian regions mentioned as the risks could escalate with time. The Department encourages Americans currently in Bolivia to maintain a low profile and limit their movement until the situation settles.

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.

People traveling by land vehicles should not attempt to pass through or around roadblocks, even if they appear unattended. U.S. citizens who encounter a demonstration should try to depart the area as quickly as possible.

Finally, the State Department remarked that U.S. citizens should register and update their contact information at the U.S. Embassy in La Paz. They should also regularly monitor the situation via the Department’s internet website.

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