The NYT has an editorial on Evo Morales’s corruption, with the catchy title The Worst Boyfriend in Bolivia
If Bolivia’s widening political scandal were to be turned into a soap opera, a fitting title would be “Heartless Ex-Boyfriend.” The protagonists: a Machiavellian statesman and a former paramour. The plot: She threatens to expose him as a monster, but he is determined to stay in power indefinitely, even if he has to jail, silence and discredit her and his critics.
Back in March I linked to an English language article summarizing Evo Morales’s missing child story and how it relates to corruption, Beyond the Zapata scandal: Outsourcing Bolivia’s National Development to China
The basic details behind the scandal have been confirmed by President Morales himself. In 2007 or shortly before, the President had a relationship with Gabriela Zapata, resulting in a child who died shortly after birth. Zapata went on obtain a university education and a law degree, and in 2013 was contracted by the Chinese company CAMC Engineering which won an estimated $580 millionin work from the Bolivian state, of which,$366 million was awarded after Ms. Zapata was hired to represent the company.
As it turns out, Evo’s child is eight years old (link in Spanish), but Evo not only claims the child is dead, he threw in the clink Zapata’s aunt for asserting that the child is alive, which is one heck of a way to avoid a paternity suit.
I also had a prior post describing the scandal’s effect on Evo’s campaign to be allowed to run for reelection in 2019.
Evo has been in office since 2006. The coca growers want Evo as president until 2035, and Evo is doing his darnest to oblige. Considering the billions of dollars involved, why wouldn’t he?
The NYT also has a Review: ‘A Moment of Silence’ Follows the Evo Morales Era in Bolivia
While he delivered a constitution that recognized the rights of native groups, the film asserts that he resorted to the tactics of the leaders he despised. When his proposals undermined his constituency, the people protested, only to be met by government brutality, according to chilling testimony. “What does the president want?” one woman asks. “All these people voted for him.”
The editorial also points out the pattern of repression (emphasis added),
She [Gabriela Zapata] and her lawyers also said she has damaging information about the president’s right-hand man, Juan Ramón Quintana, the minister of the presidency.
But whether any of this intriguing material will be allowed to surface — and whether Ms. Zapata will get to defend herself and name names — is now in doubt. Last week, the government jailed her defense lawyer, Eduardo León, and an aunt, Pilar Guzmán, who had corroborated her assertion that Mr. Morales’s son was in fact alive. Mr. León, a prominent lawyer, has attended court hearings wearing a sign with the words “political prisoner.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Morales’s allies in Congress have been peddling bills that would curtail freedom of the press and regulate social media. What they fail to see is that Mr. Morales’s defeat in February resulted from damning facts, not critical news coverage. And they are clearly nervous about the insider account of corruption Ms. Zapata stands to tell if she gets her day in court.
On Tuesday, Mr. Morales announced a new referendum campaign, saying that the first one had been tainted by “lies” about the Zapata case. “During the second inning, we’ll see who is who,” he said.
Bolivia’s index of economic freedom has tanked since Evo came to power:
Let’s hope the new referendum campaign fails.