Bolivia Travel Advice – FCO Update

London, 11 November 2019, 18.30 GMT

Bolivia Travel Update

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has updated their travel advice for Bolivia. They advise against all but essential travel to:

  • Oruru department
  • Potosi department, except Uyuni
  • Chuquisaca department
  • Cochabamba department

Road travel between cities is not advised. There have been attacks on inter-city buses and the  capacity of emergency services to respond in these areas is limited. All travel within and between major cities is being intermittently blocked by protesters and many major roads have been closed. Transport options will be extremely limited, road journeys and land border crossings may take a lot longer than planned, and there may be disruption to supply of goods in parts of the country. Land borders are subject to closure at short notice.

Travellers are urged to avoid large crowds and public demonstrations. Do not attempt to cross any road blockades.

If you are travelling by air, be prepared for possible disruption to flights and access to airports.

Revealed Travel is monitoring events closely. The safety of our travellers in our highest priority. We are in regular contact with our ground agents in the country and with passengers to ensure they are safe.

Link: Foreign Office Travel Advice for Bolivia

 

Background

Presidential elections were held on 20 October 2019. Bolivia’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal suspended the count for 20 hours at a point when over 80% of votes had been counted and the preliminary results showed the incumbent, Evo Morales leading with 45% of votes against 38% for his nearest rival,  former president Carlos Mesa.

By the time counting resumed, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal had updated the results to show Morales with 46.85% of votes against 36.73% for Carlos Mesa. The final official result with 99.9% of votes counted declared  47.1% for Morales and 36.51% for Mesa.  This result was just above the 10-point margin required under Bolivian electoral rules for Mr Morales to avoid a second-round runoff.

Protests and demonstrations ensued and the Organisation of American States (OAS) was asked to audit the election results.

On Sunday 10 November, following weeks of protests and the OAS reporting irregularities and clear manipulation pf the count, the election was annulled. The head of Bolivia’s military also called for Morales to stand down so order could be restored.  Shortly afterwards Morales resigned after 14 years in office.  His sudden departure has left a power vacuum in the country.

Several of Morales’ ministers and top officials resigned after his announcement, including the vice-president Alvaro Garcia Linera. Under the constitution, power then passes to the president of the Senate and to the speaker of the lower house of Congress, in that order. But they have resigned, too.

An opposition senator, Jeanine Añez, said she would assume the interim presidency, given her position as deputy senate leader. She flew to La Paz last night. But Congress will first have to be convened for a vote to take place.