Gabriela Zapata

(P1) 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.

(P2) Mr Morales, 56, says he had a two-year relationship with Gabriela Zapata, now 28, starting in 2005.

(P3) He has ACKNOWLEDGED that Ms Zapata gave birth to his son in 2007, but he believed the child died shortly after being born.

(P4) Ms Zapata’s aunt said on Saturday that the boy was alive and in Bolivia.

(P5) News of the relationship between Ms Zapata and Mr Morales first EMERGED about a month ago as part of a journalist’s investigation into INFLUENCE PEDDLING.

(P6) Journalist Carlos Valverde revealed that a Chinese ENGINEERING company, CAMC, had been given LUCRATIVE state CONTRACTS. Gabriela Zapata until recently was a senior manager at the firm.

(P7) Mr Valverde also revealed the relationship between Ms Zapata and Mr Morales, including the birth of the child.

(P8) Two days later, Mr Morales spoke in public for the first time about the relationship.

(P9) “I met Gabriela Zapata in 2005. It is true that she was my partner,” he said.

(P10) “In 2007 we had a child, but UNFORTUNATELY, he died,” he added.

(P11) PROSECUTORS ordered the ARREST of Ms Zapata on charges of MONEY LAUNDERING, EMBEZZLEMENT, and ABUSE of influence.

(P12) Ms Zapata’s aunt, Pilar Guzman, was the first to state publicly that Mr Morales’s and Ms Zapata’s son was still alive.

(P13) “The child lives,” she told reporters on live television. “He is named Ernesto Fidel. He’s here [in La Paz] and is between eight and nine years old now,” she said.

(P14) A lawyer for Ms Zapata later also said that the child was alive and well.

(P15) Mr Morales seems surprised by the news.

(P16) He said that if his son was alive he would like to meet him and “BRING HIM UP“.

(P17) He also asked a court to order Ms Zapata’s family to let him see the child “in private” within five days.

(P18) But on Tuesday senior government ministers said they were “absolutely CONVINCED that sadly, the boy has PASSED AWAY“.

(P19) They did not say what they based their information on.

(P20) Ms Guzman insisted on Tuesday that the boy was alive and that her NIECE would “introduce him before the international media at a convenient time”.

(P21) “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.

(P22) Mr Morales, who has never married, has two children from previous relationships. He has acknowledged both.

(P23) The current SCANDAL has created INTENSE public interest and a MEDIA CIRCUS. Everyone wants to know: Is the child alive or not?

WORDS: 452



If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Do you think the boy is alive or not?
  3. Why would Gabriela Zapata have told Evo Morales in 2007 that the boy was dead if he wasn’t dead?
  4. As a scandal, this story has everything: sex, money, power, politics, and a big mystery. What have been the most MEMORABLE recent scandals in your country?
  5. Many Latin American politicians have had ILLEGITIMATE children but have remained active in politics. Would this be possible in your country?


What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Influence peddling
  • Money laundering
  • Bring up
  • Pass away
  • Media circus

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