LA PAZ – A former lover of President Evo Morales was detained for questioning on allegations of influence-trading, the Bolivian Interior Ministry said Friday.
Gabriela Zapata was having an affair with Morales between 2005 and 2007, of which a child was born that died soon afterwards, the president himself recently revealed.
The detainee, now 29, is currently marketing manager in Bolivia for the Chinese firm CAMC Engineering, which in recent years signed contracts with the Morales government for a total of $566 million.
Zapata’s affair with Morales plus the CAMC’s government contracts led to a report by journalist Carlos Valverde about suspected influence peddling, which both the president and his ex-girlfriend have denied.
At the request of Morales, the government contracts with CAMC are under investigation by the Controller General’s Office and by a congressional commission.
Morales blamed his defeat in Sunday’s referendum, in which Bolivians rejected his attempt to run for reelection in 2019, on the accusations circulating on social networks during the campaign, which he described as a “dirty war.”
When his affair with Zapata went public, the president said he hadn’t seen the woman again since they broke up in 2007, but that story was refuted when several photos surfaced in which they are seen posing together during the 2015 Carnival festivities.
The president then noted that many people come up to him to have their pictures taken, and that his ex-lover looked like “someone he knew,” though later he realized it was Gabriela Zapata.