Our Status and Crisis Plans

Summary: Half of Bolivia is at war, but not our half. We don’t know whether it will spread. Bolivia is fully unpredictable. We’re staying for now.

Issues:

  • The Anti-Evo region is in violent protest, possibly even secession.
  • They’re not doing it intelligently – so they have made enemies of Brazil and Argentina.
  • MAS (Pro-Evo, simplistically) is possibly inciting further violence.
  • Evo might send in military troops.
  • Chavez has stated that if Evo is deposed, he will send in Venezuelan troops.
  • Brazil and Argentina are siding with Evo because the opposition have shut down vital natural gas exports to those nations.
  • Brazil is preparing an evacuation for its citizens.
  • Bolivia and the United States have expelled each others’ diplomatic teams. Venezuela has expelled the U.S. ambassador as well.
  • The U.S. embassy is closed over the weekend for “training”.
  • The DEA has been expelled from the country-side.
  • It’s possible that the DEA will leave entirely.

The DEA is the only official evac option we have. If they leave, so does our protected evac. The State Department have already stated that no evacs will be conducted here. We, and the other gringos here, will be on our own.

Evacuation requires:

  • Spending $10,000-20,000 to go… nowhere. Maybe the US, maybe Brazil (temporarily), maybe Paraguay. Unknown.
  • Putting our dogs to sleep.
  • Losing our home, vehicle, and any property not taken with us.
  • Possibly not being allowed to return to Bolivia.
  • If we’re gone for more than 90 days, then my family’s 4-year visa process to earn permanent visas will have to be completely restarted, which is a loss of over $7,000.

All of which would probably be for nothing. Cochabamba doesn’t usually get hit with the violence. What we are definitely going to experience, and are already experiencing, is transportation and food shortages.

No gasoline exists in the city. We’ve got 3/4 of a tank in the minivan. Most of the taxis here, luckily, operate off of natural gas. As of yesterday morning that was still available. No beef is being imported. One store received beef by plane yesterday, and we purchased about twenty kilos at a 420% rise above usual costs. These are both very survivable problems.

Our problem, here, is that the cost (practical more than money… God always provides the money when necessary, we’ve seen that time and again) for the safety of leaving for a little while is possibly our entire ministry and life here. Do we bank on safety and lose everything (plus putting down the dogs), or do we hunker down in faith? Further, in which area does God want us to have faith – our safety (if we stay) or the preservation of our ministry (if we go)?

One element for prayer is that we’ll work out some solution for my passport. I don’t have it – it’s in La Paz, Evo capital. If we go, then the embassy will have to get an emergency passport to me. If we don’t go, then it’s not a problem. If I take it out now, we risk my having to spend an addition $250 to restart my student visa. On a gamble.

We will evacuate if:

  • Physical danger exists.
  • We are unable to obtain basic food or water.
  • We are expelled by Bolivian government.
  • We are ordered out by the US government.

But like I said. Right now, all is well, and that probably will not change for Cochabamba city.

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