Bolivia’s President Evo Morales has announced he wants to meet a son he was told had died nine years ago.
It is the latest twist in a scandal involving Evo Morales’ former girlfriend and the boy’s mother, Gabriela Zapata.
Gabriela Zapata has been arrested as part of a corruption investigation.
A relative of Gabriela Zapata has now revealed that the boy is alive and living in an undisclosed location in Bolivia.
“It may be true, or it may be unfortunate but it is worrying that an alleged aunt claimed that the child is alive,” said President Evo Morales in a statement.
Gabriela Zapata gave birth in 2007 to a child sired by 56-year-old Evo Morales the year after he took office.
Evo Morales said he could not believe that the truth had been hidden from him for so long.
“I ask myself why since 2007 did they hide him from me? For what reasons did they distance me? “
Gabriela Zapata told him at the time that their baby had fallen ill soon after birth and had died.
The opposition has accused Evo Morales of using his influence to grant lucrative government contracts to the Chinese building firm where Gabriela Zapata works.
Evo Morales rejected the accusations and said they were part of a strategy from right-wing forces to undermine his credibility ahead of a referendum last week.
He said a dirty war had been waged against him.
Evo Morales was seeking to change the constitution to allow him to run for a fourth successive term, but the referendum was rejected by 51.3% of voters.
He has been in power since 2006 and his current term runs out in 2020.
Gabriela Zapata has not as yet made any comments on the corruption allegations.
A bachelor, Evo Morales has two children with two other women and has generally succeeded in keeping his private life out of the headlines.