Drug War Chronicle's South America trip postponed

I decided today to postpone my long-awaited trip to Bolivia and Peru because of uncertainty surrounding the situation with Bolivian visa requirements. As I blogged a few days ago, the Bolivian government announced New Year's Day that it would now require all American citizens traveling there to have visas (previously visas were not required for tourist visits lasting less than 30 days). Okay, so I'll get a visa, right? Wrong. When my DC-based colleague went to the Bolivian consulate there, he was given a visa application for me to fill out, but when he returned it, he was told no visa was necessary. When he reiterated his concerns, the consular employee gave him a copy of Bolivian consular service document saying because the embassy had not been officially informed of the change, the old rules were still in effect. Meanwhile, at least one US citizen responded to my initial blog by saying he had been turned away at the border. My contacts in Bolivia tell me nobody knows what's really going on yet and that the whole thing is being done in a seat-of-the-pants fashion. I could theoretically apply for a business visa, just to have some sort of guarantee I will be able to enter the country, but unlike tourist visas, I would have to appear in person at a Bolivian consulate. I haven't been able to find one of those in East Central South Dakota. So, to hell with this uncertainty. I was supposed to take off a week from today, but I'm bumping my departure back a month. I am not going to arrive at a remote Bolivian border crossing in the altiplano only to be turned back because the Bolivians don't have their act together. Instead, I'll wait and hope they get it figured out soon.
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