As you may recall, the coca growers want Evo as president until 2035, and Evo is doing his darnest to oblige.
But, while Evo campaigned, details were coming out on Bolivia’s scandal about sex, politics and China.. Andres Oppenheimer reports,
The scandal came to light Feb. 3, when tv journalist Carlos Valverde revealed that Morales had fathered a child with a young woman named Gabriela Zapata in 2007, when she was between seventeen and nineteen years old, and that Zapata has since become a top executive of a major Chinese corporation that has received more than $500 million in government contracts.
Showing an eight-page newspaper advertorial of China’s CAMC Engineering firm in a local newspaper that presented Zapata as one of the company’s top executives in Bolivia, the journalist reported that CAMC has become one of the largest government contractors. And a sizable part of the government contracts with CAMC to build roads, railroads and other public works were signed after Zapata joined the company in 2013.
At first, the Morales government denied the whole story. As it usually does with any bad news, it blamed “U.S. imperialism” for spreading lies about the self-proclaimed revolutionary socialist president in order to discredit him ahead of Sunday’s referendum.
But as reports about the Morales-Zapata-CAMC scandal exploded in social media, Morales conceded that he had indeed had a child with Zapata, but said that the boy — named Ernesto Fidel Morales, presumably after Ernesto “Che” Guevara and Fidel Castro — had died, and that he had not seen Zapata in at least five years.
Shortly thereafter, a 2015 picture of Morales with a hand over Zapata’s shoulder at a recent Carnival celebration popped up in Bolivia’s social media, contradicting his assertion that he hadn’t seen her in years. Morales then said that people constantly approach him for pictures, and that he had not recognized Zapata. Many incredulous Bolivian responded, “Yeah, sure!”
Here’s the photo,
Valverde, the TV journalist who broke the Zapata story, said in his TV show that he doesn’t care how many children Morales has, or with whom, but that Zapata’s role as the sales manager for a Chinese company that is benefitting from huge contracts with the Morales government smacks of corruption.
Amalia Pando describes (in Spanish) five of the CAMC contracts in question, including civil engeneering projects, sugar mills, oil, and a railroad, involving over US$500million,
Conoce a la empresa china manejada por Gabriela Zapata Montaño que recibe nuestros millones en contratos que NO… https://t.co/lq2B41pvcp
— Jacqueline Patiño (@jptipnis) February 4, 2016
The Morales regime did not eye her report kindly.
Oppenheimer correctly points out that
Morales has taken control of the legislative power, the judiciary, much of the media, and has intimidated leading opposition politicians into silence or exile, very little is known about these government contracts.
With next-to-zero transparency, it’s likely that full details of the contracts will never come to light.