Bolivian Judge Orders Morales, Alleged Son to Take DNA Tests

LA PAZ – A Bolivian judge ordered President Evo Morales, the boy he supposedly fathered with Gabiela Zapata and Zapata herself to undergo DNA tests to verify whether or not the child is the leader's son, as the businesswoman – currently incarcerated for alleged economic crimes – claims, local media reported Sunday.

Judge Jacqueline Rada ordered the trio to appear on Monday at the Forensic Research Institute to undergo the tests, according to a ruling dated April 21 but published Sunday by the daily Pagina Siete.

The tests will be conducted at the request of Morales' defense team after it became known that Zapata had presented the child to the court, as the government – who had claimed that he did not exist – had demanded.

In remarks to Erbol radio, Zapata's attorney, Eduardo Leon, confirmed that she and the child will abide by the judge's ruling, although he expressed his doubts that the institute's work would be objective, given that it is "extremely politicized" and overseen by the Attorney General's Office.

He therefore demanded that the trio be allowed to have the tests performed by private experts.

Zapata has been held in a La Paz prison since February 28.

The president and the businesswoman had a romantic relationship between 2005 and 2007 and the child, who is now 8 or 9 years old, apparently was born in 2007.

The boy's existence has sparked controversy since Zapata was arrested, given that Morales and his ministers have claimed that the child died shortly after birth, while other authorities said that he was never even born.

Morales and his ministers have said repeatedly that the controversy is part of a campaign to discredit him.