Dead or alive, the president’s ‘love child’ dominates the news in Bolivia

Mar 13, 2016 | 0 comments

It’s easy to believe him when Evo Morales says he regrets the affair that began ten years ago with a government employee.

Zapata, Evo Morales' ex-lover.

Gabriela Zapata, Evo Morales’ ex-lover.

Last month, news of the affair and plumb jobs given to his lover ended Evo Morales’ bid to remain in office indefinitely when voters rejected a constitutional amendment eliminating presidential term limits. Now, attention has turned to the question of whether a child that resulted from the relationship is dead or alive.

The people of Bolivia are captivated by the real-life soap opera and the news media are eager to provide the details.

Morales’s former lover, Gabriela Zapata, says the eight-year-old child resulting from the affair is alive while the Bolivian government says it died shortly after birth. Zapata and her lawyer refuse to show the child in public or to offer photos, saying the child’s privacy should be respected. The sex of the child has not been revealed.

In court hearings held last week, Zapata, who was jailed three weeks ago on charges of “personal enrichment through illicit profits” from high-paying jobs she held with Chinese contractors, says the child is healthy and living a normal life with her family. She and her attorney produced witnesses to back up her story.

In the meantime, Bolivia’s Defense Minister Reymi Ferreira says that Zapata told Morales that the child is dead. “We are confident that the baby is dead based on what she (Zapata) told the president,” Ferreira said at a press conference. “We believe she and are her family are lying in the interest of gaining child support and embarrassing the president,” he said.

Zapata has refused to talk to the media since her arrest. Her attorney said he would address the health of the child as well as other issues in the case at the appropriate time. He also questioned why Bolivia’s defense minister is involved in the case.



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