US issues travel ban & evacuates diplomatic staff from Bolivia after ‘pro-democracy coup’ fails to quell violent unrest
The State Department has ordered family members of US government workers to vacate Bolivia and authorized the departure of non-essential diplomatic staff, as protests and violent clashes across the country only intensified as opposition politician Jeanine Añez declared herself “interim president” following the forced resignation of Evo Morales.
“The US government has limited ability to provide emergency services to US citizens,” the State Department said in an advisory issued on Tuesday announcing the evacuations and establishing a travel ban on the country. The missive warned of “recurring demonstrations, strikes, roadblocks, and marches in major cities in Bolivia.”
Bolivia has been wracked by violent protests since late October’s presidential election, in which opposition figures refused to accept Morales’s victory. After weeks of unrest over the disputed result, top military brass pressured the socialist leader’s resignation, forcing Morales flee the country and seek political asylum in Mexico in what he slammed as a coup.
Despite the State Department’s abrupt evacuation notice and travel ban, which appear to recognize the deteriorating situation in Bolivia, Washington hailed Morales’ resignation as a triumph for “democracy” and the “will of the people.”