A senior Bolivian official on Monday confirmed the existence of an investigation into a birth certificate that lists former socialist leader Evo Morales as the father of a child born to a 16-year-old girl in 2016.
The revelation that authorities are attempting to confirm if Morales indeed fathered a child with a minor, thus committing statutory rape, follows the publication of a bombshell report in the Spanish media outlet OK Diario this month claiming that Bolivian police have compiled a 46-page report accusing Morales of maintaining a long-term affair with another minor. OK Diario published multiple photos of Morales with a teenage girl it claimed were included in the report.
Bolivian officials have already filed charges against Morales for a litany of violent crimes including genocide, terrorism, destruction of public property, and environmental crimes.
Following the confirmation by Bolivia’s conservative government that it is indeed engaged in a legal investigation against Morales for statutory rape, the governor of Bolivia’s largest state claimed that “everybody knew” Morales was sexually interested in girls while he was in office.
Morales was president of Bolivia for nearly 14 years when he resigned in November following an election victory international observers deemed highly suspect. Morales was not constitutionally allowed to run for a third term but successfully pressured the Bolivian courts to allow him to do so, arguing that term limits were a violation of his human rights. An Organization of American States (OAS) investigation into the October 2019 election found evidence of fraud favoring Morales.
Following his voluntary resignation, Morales claimed he was the victim of a “coup” and fled to Mexico, then Argentina, where the socialist government has granted him political asylum. Morales remains the leader of Bolivians “Movement Towards Socialism” (MAS) party from abroad.
“Today … documentation has been received regarding a possible new case of rape, presumably committed by ex-President Evo Morales,” Guido Melgar, Bolivia’s minister of transparency, told reporters on Monday. “The documentation indicates that a young lady [named] N.N. had a romantic relationship with Evo Morales and became pregnant when she was 15 years and five months old, having a daughter in February 2016, when she was 16.”
“The minor exists, the mother exists, and the minor has registered as her father Juan Evo Morales Ayma,” Melgar explained.
Prosecutors in Cochabamba, the jurisdiction where the case would fall, confirmed on Monday that criminal charges exist against Morales for rape and human trafficking. The next day, Javier Issa, Bolivia’s vice minister of the Department of the Interior, told reporters that police have compiled photographic evidence indicating that the accusations are true. Issa said that the discovery of photos appearing to show Morales in compromising positions with minors was “a matter of chance,” as the Bolivian newspaper Página Siete reported — police discovered the photos after arresting a minor at a party violating Chinese coronavirus lockdown restrictions who appeared to have ties to Morales.
Morales addressed the claims in an interview with the leftist radio program Kawsachun Coca this weekend, reminding the public that he has faced other paternity claims in the past and denying that he had committed any crime.
“I don’t discuss [female] comrades in political matters,” Morales insisted. “All I will tell you is that, during the 2014 elections, some will remember, a case surfaced of a [female] comrade that I had allegedly impregnated, she said she was 55. … I said, ‘if you have evidence, put me on trial.'”
Morales insisted that right-wing “coup plotters” were behind the accusations.
Other news outlets have noted that Morales faced similar paternity claims in 2016, as well.
“All that stuff about rape and pedophilia, everybody knew about that when Evo Morales was president,” Rubén Costas, the governor of Bolivia’s Santa Cruz department, the nation’s equivalent of provinces or states, told reporters on Monday, suggesting that the allegations were true. “We knew and it was all covered up. That’s what happens when power is managed in a vile way and all the institutions are bought off … nobody could do anything about the charges, nothing happened.”
President Jeanine Áñez — a conservative senator who became commander-in-chief after Morales and everyone above her on the chain of command fled the country — called the accusations against Morales “unforgivable” on Tuesday.
“All these acts should be punished, we are in favor of respecting women, children, but we had a president who hid all of that, it will not remain unpunished, this is unforgivable and outrageous for all Bolivians,” Áñez said.
The child who allegedly gave birth to Morales’ daughter is the second identified this month as a potential Morales victim. The first is a woman believed to be currently 19 years old, but who was underage at the time that photos allegedly of her and Morales indicating a romantic relationship were taken. The photos, and her full identity, appeared in the Spanish outlet OK Diario, which did not independently confirm the relationship, only the police investigation into the matter.
The woman in question released a statement last week saying that police in Bolivia had forced her to claim she had engaged in a sexual relationship with Morales and had traveled to Mexico and Argentina to see him following his resignation.
“I have been the victim of police harassment,” the girl said in a statement published anonymously in Bolivian media. “There were various police officers at all times who called me a liar, insulted me, said bad words to me, made fun of me. They told me, ‘say that you are Evo’s girlfriend, that you traveled to Mexico and Argentina.'”
“From July 6 on, my life has been a nightmare,” the statement read.
The known criminal charges against Morales, which Áñez’s government has vowed to take to international court, regard his calls from abroad for mob violence to force his reinstatement as president. In December, Bolivian officials published audio of what they claimed to be Morales’ voice ordering a senior labor union leader, “do not let food into the cities,” hoping to starve residents into allowing his return to power.