Tensions remain high across Bolivia on Wednesday, November 13, as protests continued in multiple areas including La Paz, El Alto, El Chapare, Santa Cruz department, and Cochabamba department. In La Paz, security forces fired tear gas in an attempt to disperse supporters of former President Evo Morales. Significant crowds of Morales supporters also rallied in El Alto to denounce what they claim is a coup d'état against the former president. In Santa Cruz department, at least two people were reportedly killed during clashes between rival political supporters in Montero and Yapacaní. Security forces were also deployed to remove barricades along the main highway between the cities of Santa Cruz and Cochabamba.
Lawmakers from Morales’s Movement for Socialism Party (MAS) have rejected the administration of interim President Jeanine Añez, who was sworn in on Tuesday, November 12. Under the constitution, the interim president has 90 days to organize an election, but it is unclear if Añez will be able to form a new electoral court and get Congress, which is controlled by MAS, to vote on a new election. Indigenous Bolivians have also taken to the streets since Monday, November 11, to denounce the coup d'état against Morales.
Additional protests, including spontaneous ones, are to be expected daily in other urban centers and across La Paz. A heightened security presence and transportation disruptions are expected at all demonstrations. An escalation of violence between rival political supporters and security forces cannot be ruled out.
The US Department of State asked family members of government employees to leave Bolivia on November 12 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.
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