Political and social unrest in Bolivia has been monitored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints for some days. On Friday, it released a statement saying missionaries were being transferred out of the country.
Daniel Woodruff, a spokesman with with the church, released this statement Friday to media: “The Church is in the process of transferring 63 missionaries from the Bolivia Cochabamba Mission. This is due to growing political unrest as well as the U.S. government’s recent decision to pull non-emergency workers from that country,” Woodruff stated. “The missionaries — who are all from North America — are being temporarily reassigned to other missions. A few who are nearing the end of their missions will return home.”
Woodruff continues, “At this point, in coordination with security professionals, all other missionaries throughout Bolivia are remaining where they are and will continue with limited missionary work in those areas where it is safe to do so. The safety of our missionaries is our highest priority, and we will continue to carefully monitor developments in Bolivia and make further adjustments and decisions as circumstances require.”
Bolivian news sources reported Thursday that “two people were killed on Wednesday in clashes between Bolivian police and supporters of former president Evo Morales, as the interim government of Jeanine Anez struggled to contain the political unrest sweeping the South American country.”
A story written by Manuel Rueda read, “The violence came after supporters of Morales launched a campaign that included marches, roadblocks and legislative maneuvers in an effort to reinstate the left-wing leader to power.”
According to Rueda, “Anez declared herself interim president on Tuesday after Morales and others in his government resigned following weeks of unrest over the country’s disputed Oct. 20, presidential election. The resignation came after an audit by the Organization of American States found irregularities during the vote. Morales then fled to Mexico after receiving asylum.
“We pray for the people in Bolivia as they navigate this difficult time in their country,” Woodruff states.
The LDS Church has 207,000 members, more than 250 congregations, five missions and one temple in Bolivia.