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23 Nov 2019 | 07:24 PM UTC

Bolivia: Protesters agree to lift roadblocks November 23 /update 37

Supporters of former President Evo Morales agree to lift roadblocks across the country following an agreement with the interim government on November 23; further protests possible

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BOL

Event

An agreement was reached between interim President Jeanine Áñez’s government and former President Evo Morales’s Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) party on Saturday, November 23, to hold new elections. The deal was later unanimously passed by the Senate, which annuals the October 20 vote and establishes that new members of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) must be elected within 20 days. General elections will then be held in 2020. A dialogue between MAS and the interim government is also scheduled to start on Saturday to deescalate tensions in the country.

MAS supporters agreed to life roadblocks around the country after the bill was approved by the Senate. According to media reports, blockades were lifted in Río Abajo, south of La Paz, and in El Alto, where significant food and fuel shortages were ongoing. 

Further protests are possible throughout Bolivia, particularly in 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.

Context

Former President Morales resigned on November 10, following weeks of protests organized by opposition political organizations. The TSE was accused to manipulating the results of the October 20 election in favor of Morales to prevent a runoff, sparking an escalation in demonstrations nationwide. At least 32 people have been killed in clashes with security forces or between rival political supporters.

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.

Advice

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.