Gabriela Zapata, a woman who had a son with Bolivian President Evo Morales, says she will present her child to the media “at a convenient time” to prove he is alive.
President Evo Morales, 56, says he had a two-year relationship with Gabriela Zapata, now 28, from 2005.
He has acknowledged that Gabriela Zapata gave birth to his son in 2007 but alleges she told him the child died shortly after being born.
Gabriela Zapata’s aunt said on February 27 that the boy was alive and in Bolivia.
News of the relationship between Gabriela Zapata and Evo Morales first emerged on February 3 as part of a journalist’s investigation into alleged influence peddling.
Gabriela Zapata until recently was a senior manager at the Chinese company.
Carlos Valverde also broke the news of the previously undisclosed relationship between Gabriela Zapata and Evo Morales.
He said the two had had a child together.
Two days later, Evo Morales spoke in public for the first time about the relationship.
“I met Gabriela Zapata Montano in 2005. It is true that she was my partner,” he said.
“In 2007 we had a child, but unfortunately, he died. We had some problems and then we grew distant,” the president added.
Prosecutors opened an investigation into the allegations of influence peddling and on February 26 ordered the arrest of Gabriela Zapata.
She has been charged with money laundering, embezzlement and abuse of influence.
Gabriela Zapata’s aunt, Pilar Guzman, who visited her in detention on February 27 was the first to allege publicly that Evo Morales’s and Gabriela Zapata’s son was still alive.
“The child lives. I held him in my arms when he was four months old,” Gabriela Zapata told reporters on live television.
“The child is called Ernesto Fidel. He’s here [in La Paz] and is between eight and nine years old now,” she said.
A lawyer for Gabriela Zapata later also said that the child was alive and well.
Evo Morales seems to have been taken by surprise by the news.
At first he said that if his son was alive he would like to meet him and “bring him up”.
He also asked a court to order Gabriela Zapata’s family to let him see the child “in private” within five days.
On March 1, senior government ministers said they were “absolutely convinced that sadly, the boy has passed away”.
They did not say what they based their information on.
Pilar Guzman insisted on March 1 that the boy was alive and that her niece would “introduce him before the international media at a convenient time”.
She said Gabriela Zapata insisted on the presence of the media “for security reasons”, although she did not explain what threats she feared.
“At that time, the boy will talk, he is not a small child who doesn’t understand, he is old enough and knows what is happening,” she said.
Evo Morales, who has never married, has two children from previous relationships. He has acknowledged both.