Bolivia's provisional government announced on Tuesday, December 3, that it would create an narco-terrorism police force, called the Grupo Antiterrorista (GAT). The announcement comes after the Government warned of a plan led by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to influence and destabilize domestic affairs in Bolivia. The police will seek to identify and extract bogus protesters with alternative agendas amid the ongoing nationwide protest movement. Police have claimed to have identified former members of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) in pro-Evo Morales protests. This may present a higher risk of clashes between police forces and indigenous protesters supporting the former president.
A heightened security presence is to be expected until the political situation stabilizes.
Former President Morales resigned on November 10 following weeks of protests organized by opposition political organizations. The TSE was accused of manipulating the results of the October 20 election in favor of Morales to prevent a runoff, sparking an escalation in demonstrations nationwide. More than 30 people have been killed in clashes with security forces or between rival political supporters. Interim government leaders have announced that fresh presidential elections will take place in March 2020, though the exact date has yet to be officiated.
The US Department of State asked family members of government employees to leave Bolivia on November 12 due to ongoing political uncertainty and sociopolitical tensions in the country. It also warned American citizens against traveling to Bolivia and said the US government had limited ability to provide emergency services.
Individuals are advised to avoid traveling to Bolivia, particularly to La Paz, until the situation normalizes.
Individuals in 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.
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