The head of Bolivian Senate Jeanine Añez has been sworn in as the interim president on Tuesday, November 12, following former President Evo Morales' and the vice president's resignation. Añez declared herself as the appropriate leader to step into the role based on a constitutional clause, with opposition only from Morales' MAS party. Members of the party called the appointment illegitimate. It is uncertain as to whether opposition protests will continue.
Morales' supporters, however, have participated in protests in opposition to his resignation with calls for civil war in Cochabamba and La Paz. Further, indigenous Bolivians have called for an indefinite strike on Monday, November 11, and thousands marched from El Alto to La Paz on Tuesday, to protest what they are calling a coup d'état against former President Morales. Groups also sought to protest anti-indigenous sentiments, which they claim the right-wing party now in control has diffused by removing from the Legislative Assembly the Whipala flag, used to represent rural and indigenous communities chambers. Upon arrival to La Paz, they concentrated in Plaza San Francisco in the city's historic center. Additional protests, including spontaneous ones, are to be expected daily in other urban centers and across La Paz, including Plaza San Francisco.
The US Department of State has asked family members of government employees to leave Bolivia due to the ongoing uncertainty. It also warned American citizens against traveling to Bolivia and said the US government had limited ability to provide emergency services. These announcements indicate a low expectation that the situation will normalize in the coming several days. The hope is that Añez and the legislature will announce dates for another election soon.
A heightened security presence and transportation disruptions are expected at all demonstrations. Clashes cannot be ruled out.
Former President Morales resigned on Sunday, November 10, following weeks of protests organized by opposition political organizations. Tensions have been high in the country since the Supreme Electoral Tribunal of Bolivia (TSE) halted its provisionary vote count on October 20 after 83 percent of the ballot was completed. Initial results indicated that President Evo Morales was short of securing the 10-percentage point lead needed to prevent a runoff election. However, on October 21, the TSE updated the count, indicating that President Evo Morales secured 47.08 percent of the vote against his primary rival Carlos Mesa, who received 35.51 percent, preventing a runoff. Political opposition supporters are accusing the TSE of manipulating the vote in favor of Morales.
Individuals are advised to avoid traveling to La Paz until the situation normalizes.
Travelers in La Paz and across Bolivia are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all demonstrations due to the risk of violence, prepare for disruptions to transportation and business in demonstration- and strike-affected areas, and adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
Copyright and Disclaimer