CNN Latino journos called to testify in Bolivian defamation case

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CNN Latino reporter Fernando del Rincón, one of two journalists from the network who are being required to testify in a case that has proved more embarrassing to the Chicken Noodle Network than to the president they were striving to paint as a womanizing deadbeat dad at a very sensitive juncture in his career. Story via Aporrea:

The Bolivian attorney-general’s office called upon CNN journalists Fernando del Rincón and Alex Ardines to testify today, in the case of the attempt to pass a minor off as the son of president Evo Morales.

According to attorney-general Ramiro Guerrero, Del Rincón would testify on Thursday and Ardines tomorrow, as witnesses.

[…]

On May 5, CNN interviewed a minor in a La Paz hotel room, who was presented as the son of president Evo Morales, by the former CAMC functionary, Gabriela Zapata.

The boy came to the interview wearing a mask and accompanied by his real father and, although CNN knew he was not Morales’s son, they did not denounce the fact.

“If it had been a responsible journalist, they would have had to denounce, but as it was just another press outlet dedicated to political conspiring, they didn’t. That is complicity in a crime,” president Morales recently said.

According to the president, the international media chain violated articles 131, 132, 171, and 23 of the Penal Code, which refer to public apology for a criminal offence, criminal association, covering up, and complicity.

Investigations conducted by the Public Ministry revealed that the real parents of the minor used for this confabulation against the president were paid $5,000.

Marianela Paco, the minister of Communications, said that this lie was aimed at damaging the image of the president on the occasion of a referendum to modify the constitution to permit Morales to run for another term in office.

Translation mine.

Here’s an English version of CNN’s bogus story of an out-of-wedlock child. Apparently the irresponsible journalist in question was one Carlos Valverde, who “exposed” Evo on a radio show. Valverde is also the one who claimed to have dug up the bogus “son” in question. The tone of CNN’s piece leads me to conclude that they believed Valverde, since they called his story merely an “alleged lie”, claiming that the aunt of the woman at the heart of the “scandal” also asserted that there is a child, and that the son in question is alive.

Most significant of all, though, is Evo’s response, which was buried at the bottom of the CNN piece:

Morales has since said he is hurt by Zapata’s alleged lie that his son had died and has appealed to the family to let him see and meet his son.

“I want to ask family, the alleged aunt, that they show him to me, they bring him to me, I want to see him. If your family allows me, I want to recognize the baby, well the child. In reality, I cannot understand. I can’t believe they falsely told me the baby had died. I have no problem and if the family permits, I’ll recognize the child, it is a joy”

If they’re looking to pin a cover-up on Evo himself, they failed royally. Along with all the accusations of “influence peddling”, which the timeline of events (and non-events) has made a hash of.

So far, no genuine claimant in the alleged paternity case seems to have come forward.

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