Political tensions remain high across Bolivia as of Thursday, November 21, with protests continuing in cities nationwide. In La Paz, supporters of former President Evo Morales marched through the streets the carrying the coffins of individuals killed during recent clashes with security forces. Demonstrators were blocked by security forces near Murillo Square before being dispersed by tear gas. A similar march was also held in El Alto by supporters of Morales’s Movement to Socialism (MAS) party. In Yapacaní (Santa Cruz department), a joint police and military operation cleared MAS supporters from blocking the main road. Barricades had been blocking vehicles and food from entering the city since November 10. According to police officials, 24 people were arrested and a number of petrol bombs and firearms were recovered. Roadblocks are also being reported in Cochabamba as of Thursday evening (local time).
Further protests are expected in cities nationwide, particularly La Paz and El Alto, in the near term. A heightened security presence is anticipated around all demonstrations. Clashes between security forces and protesters cannot be ruled out.
On November 14, interim President Jeanine Áñez reportedly reached an agreement with lawmakers to hold new presidential elections. A specific date for the vote has not been announced, but under the constitution the interim president has 90 days to hold an election.
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 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 Bolivia, particularly 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