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Bolivia Travel Advice – FCO Update

London, 3 December 2019, 10.00 GMT

Bolivia Travel Update – IMPORTANT

Following the recent civil unrest in Bolivia, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has now lifted their advice against travel to the country.

The nation has undergone a period of instability with wide-scale political demonstrations and civil unrest throughout the country following disputed elections in October 2019 which culminated in the resignation of the President and senior public officials on 10 November. An interim government is now in place and fresh elections will be taking place within the next few months.

At Revealed Travel the safety of our travellers is our highest priority. We continue to monitor events closely throughout Latin America and we are in regular contact with our ground agents in each country to ensure our passengers are safe. Where necessary, we put in place alternative arrangements and liaise with our passengers over such contingency plans.

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 and took asylum in Mexico.  His sudden departure left a power vacuum in the country.

Several of Morales’ ministers also 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.

Opposition senator Jeanine Añez was made interim president by Congress and has moved quickly to pass legislation for new elections in March. Morales will not be allowed to stand as the new legislation prevents anyone who has served the last two terms consecutively as president.