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Ex-girlfriend of Bolivian president ordered to prove baby they had together is still alive

President Evo Morales says the baby died ten years ago, his ex says the child is still alive. Others say the baby never existed…

Bolivia Corruption Gabriela Zapata Source: AP/Press Association Images

A BOLIVIAN COURT court has ordered the ex-girlfriend of President Evo Morales to present the child she says he fathered with her nearly a decade ago, a son the leftist leader insists has died.

The dispute is at the center of a political drama that has gripped Bolivia since an investigative journalist revealed Morales’s relationship with Gabriela Zapata, a high-powered executive who is now accused of abusing her influence to win contracts for the Chinese company where she worked.

Morales has acknowledged he had a child with Zapata, whom he says he dated from 2005 to 2007.

But he says the boy died soon after birth, while her family insists he is alive.

Confusing matters further, Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera later said the baby never existed.

Bolivia Morales Referendum Former Bolivian president Evo Morales Source: AP/Press Association Images

Judge Elsa Sangueza ordered Zapata, 28, to present the child in family court “for the purpose of conducting an interview in private” said a ruling published in the Bolivian press.

The ruling is a win for Morales, 56, who took Zapata to court earlier this month to make her prove the boy is alive.

Zapata is currently in jail pending trial on charges of money laundering, embezzlement and influence peddling.

A former manager at Chinese engineering group CAMC, she is accused of using her ties to the president to land $560 million in government contracts for the company.

The case exploded onto the political scene just as Bolivia prepared to hold a referendum on whether to change the constitution to allow Morales to run for a fourth term.

Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, went on to lose the 21 February vote – his first electoral defeat in a decade in power.

The president has said his son with Zapata would now be eight or nine years old, and that he would like to raise him if he were alive.

© – AFP, 2016

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