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Bolivian President, Morales threatens to sue ex-girlfriend over claims ‘dead’ child is still alive

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Gabriela Zapata is arrested in La Paz last week
Photo: AFP

Gabriela Zapata is arrested in La Paz last week

– Ms Zapata through her attorneys

Ms Zapata was jailed on Sunday on suspicion of influence peddling and embezzling public money

Evo Morales, the Bolivian president, has threatened to sue his ex-girlfriend after she claimed that the baby they had in secret, and who the nation was later informed had died, was in fact still alive.

The revelation that Mr Morales had had a relationship and a child with Gabriela Zapata in 2007 caused a political commotion in early February, in the midst of the campaign for a referendum on whether the president could seek a fourth term in office. It was confirmed last week that Mr Morales lost the referendum by 51 per cent to 49 per cent.
The 56-year-old Mr Morales, who has two other children with different women, said at the time that the baby boy had died and the relationship had ended shortly after.
But Ms Zapata, who was jailed on Sunday on suspicion of influence peddling and embezzling public money, has denied the president’s claim, insisting that their son is alive and well.

Photo:  AFP
Bolivian President Evo Morales

A lawyer representing Ms Zapata said that “the boy is in perfect health”, adding that his whereabouts would remain secret for the time being.
The government has said it will sue Ms Zapata for slander if she cannot prove the child is alive or for lying to the president if she does present the boy before the authorities.
The arrest of 28-year-old Ms Zapata comes weeks after local media revealed that the president’s former girlfriend worked for China CAMC Engineering Co., which recently won a $560 million (£403m) government contract for a railroad project.
Photo: AFP
 Gabriela Zapata at a police station in La Paz last week
The Chinese firm also has contracts to build a hydroelectric plant, a sugar refinery and a lithium plant in the Uyuni salt flats.
Opposition politicians quickly accused Mr Morales of influence peddling, which he denied, ordering a full investigation and sanctioning the company.
Investigators also discovered that Ms Zapata had sent letters in the government’s name to different government offices urging them to favor CAMC.
The government has now demanded Ms Zapata present the child before a judge. “Then Bolivians will know the truth,” said Lenny Valdivia, the minister for transparency and the fight against corruption.
Ms Valdivia said that according to the government’s information, the child had been born in 2007 but the president was told that the baby had health problems and had died soon after. “The big question is why Ms Zapata has hidden this boy for eight years.”

Credit: Telegraph

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