Bolivia: Just six months after driving President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada into exile, Bolivians staged further massive protests in La Paz demanding the resignation of Carlos Mesa, the vice president who succeeded Sanchez de Lozada. Bus, taxi, and truck drivers, and street vendors held strikes throughout the country to protest a natural gas export deal with Argentina signed by President Mesa. The handling of the country's gas reserves was at the center of the unrest in October. The current protests have been peaceful, but the riots last year claimed 80 lives.
Botswana: A popular country for observing wildlife, Botswana has its share of risks, including a high crime rate, with nonconfrontational, nonviolent crimes the most common. The greatest risk to visitors, however, is injury in vehicular accidents. Traffic is lawless, with red-light running and green-light signal jumping common, and transit vehicles such as minibuses and taxis routinely change lanes, stop, or pull into traffic without looking to pick up or drop off a fare. Drunken drivers cause frequent fatal accidents, and domestic and wild animals are often on the roads at night outside big cities. They are difficult to see until the last minute and can cause serious accidents.
Brazil: A work slowdown by federal police since March has benefited Americans flying into Rio de Janeiro. Federal police handle immigration services at Brazil's international airports and their strike has reduced staff enough in Rio that it is impossible to photograph and fingerprint all arriving Americans. Staff shortages combined with broken fingerprinting equipment have meant that many Americans are allowed in simply with a passport check. International airports in other cities continue to photograph and fingerprint Americans.
Cambodia: A drawn-out labor dispute has besieged luxury hotels, reducing service at many and producing actions ranging from negotiation and settlement to the Raffles chain's dismissal of some 300 striking workers. Hotel Le Royal in Phnom Penh, which Raffles restored, is operating with a skeleton staff, and its colonial-era Grand Hotel d'Angkor in Siem Reap, near the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat, has closed until the dispute is resolved. The strike is affecting all luxury hotels in the country, and striking workers are determined not to let their demonstrations be overtaken by outsiders who might make trouble, preferring to maintain peaceful protests to make their point.
Peru: The country's largest air carrier, Aero Continente, has lost permission to enter US airspace because of safety concerns. FAA officials announced April 22 that the airline, which flies four times a week into Miami, would no longer be allowed to fly to the United States. An Aero Continente official said the airline would continue to operate its Miami flights with equipment leased from other authorized companies until the suspension is resolved.
Editor's note: Always make inquiries before you leave home. Contact the State Department (888-407-4747; 317-472-2328; 202-647-5225; or at http://travel.state.gov; and abroad, check in with the nearest US embassy or consulate.