Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, is hoping for a fourth term with a change to the country’s constitution. But, his relationship with a young 29-year-old woman might just end his political career.
So what, right? Well, just so happens that Morales claims to be single and ready to mingle (we added the mingle part), but is in a relationship — and even had a child — with Gabriela Zapata according to journalist Carlos Valverde. Guess this relationship is in the “complicated” stage.
Morales has said little about his relationship, but admitted dating Zapata in 2005 and ending all ties in 2007, after their child died. However…wait for it…a picture surfaced of Morales and Zapata happily embracing each other at a carnival last year.
“I remember, there was a woman with a familiar face who approached me to take a photo during carnival, that’s true,” Mr. Morales said admitting to the photo. “It was a familiar face and when the photo emerged, ah!, I think that’s Gabriela.”
Adding to this love scandal is the money scandal. You see, Zapata is an exec at a Chinese company with millions worth of government contracts and is living in a pretty lush house. Questions about this fuel the fire.
And while some Bolivians are willing to forgive Morales’ corruption scandal because they believe he’s helped the poor and protected the indigenous people, others say the scandal will stop them from going to the polls to keep Morales in office until 2025.
Read more about what might ruin Evo Morales’ political career from The New York Times here.
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Justice may soon be on the horizon for as many as 20 victims who say they were sexually abused, including cases of rape, between 2004 and 2016. Priests Nicola Corradi, 83, Horacio Corbacho, 59 and a former gardener Armando Gomez, 49, are all facing charges of sexually abusing deaf children in their care. The shocking case has sent shock waves through Argentina’s society and the Catholic church. The terrible acts occurred at the Provolo Institute in Mendoza, a Catholic school for deaf children that was founded in 1995 and in which Corradi headed until his arrest in November 2016.
People in Argentina are looking for answers and are asking how this horrendous crime could have happened?
The two priests and gardener appeared in court Monday to face their long-awaited charges of sexual abuse. The three men face prison sentences of up to 20 years in some cases, up to 50 years in others. The trial, which is expected to last two months, will hear testimony from 13 victims who suffered negligence and abuse between the ages of four and 17, relating to 43 offenses.
News of the abuse at the school broke at the end of 2016 and created a huge scandal. The scandal grew when it became clear that Rev. Corradi was behind the charges. It has been reported that Corradi was accused of similar allegations at the Antonio Próvolo institute in Verona, Italy. Pope Francis, an Argentine, has since been notified that Corradi was behind both allegations but has yet to comment publicly despite on the matter despite his close affiliation.
There has already been one sentencing in wake of the scandal. Jorge Bordón, an institute employee, was sentenced to 10 years in prison last year on charges of rape, sexual touching, and corrupting minors.
One of the victims has spoken up about his emotions going into the trial and his search for justice.
Ezequiel Villalonga,18, is one of the victims of the pedophile priests, says that he was preyed upon at the school as a minor. Villalonga is deaf which makes the case even more heartbreaking. Now, he’s getting the chance to tell his story as the trial goes to court.
“I think that everything in the Church is fake. Everything they made us read, recite, the way (they said) people should live,” Villalonga told the AP in sign language right before the start of the priests’ trial on Monday. “I think they lie and that they’re demonic.”
Villalonga was sent to the school when he was 4 years old after his mother found out her son was deaf when he was only seven months old. For many of those years at Provo, he was only allowed to go home on weekends and spent the majority of his days there inside a massive building with little to no contact. Despite the school’s specialized mission in helping deaf children, he didn’t teach him how to speak during his time there. It was until he was an adult he learned sign language.
“Life there was terrible. We didn’t learn anything, we couldn’t speak to each other because we didn’t know sign language,” he said. “We would write without knowing what it said, and when we asked other classmates, no one understood anything.”
Things haven’t been easier for his mom, Natalia, who says her family has had to pause their lives due to the case and the horrors that have happened to her son.
“I am super-nervous, anxious and I hope for justice; that this ends soon so my son can move on to a new stage because this is very hard,” said Natalia Villalonga told the Washington Post.
While the trial is just getting started, the trauma and disbelief for many of the young victims have gone on for too long.
Paola Gonzalez’s daughter, Milagros, who is now 16 years old, had been one of those 20 abused while attending the Institute. Gonzalez was shocked and angry when she found out what had happened to her daughter at what she considered at one point, a prestigious institution.
“You should have seen her little body when she went into (the Provolo). She was so small,” Gonzalez told the AP. “I don’t understand, I can’t imagine such evil. How could they do so much harm to such a fragile creature?”
In September 2014, a group of progressive students organized to attend an annual protest of a student massacre that occurred decades before. On their way there, half a dozen municipal police forces were seemingly organized and attacked the buses with four hours of gunfire. Half the students survived. Forty-three went missing.
In the days and weeks after, nobody could have imagined the absolute worst-case scenario could happen: that the Mexican government was responsible and wouldn’t deliver any kind of investigation or closure for the parents of “The 43.” Netflix’s new docu-series “The 43” does what nobody else has to uncover the tragic mystery. Here’s our synopsis.
On September 26, 2014, a group of 100 students boarded buses to Mexico City to demand justice for the Tlatelolco massacre.
For decades, students have organized to arrive in Mexico City in time for the annual October 2nd protest. Every year, the state attempts to block students from arriving in Mexico City. So, every year, the students describe a tradition of “hijacking” buses to make it to Mexico City. Bus drivers expect it. Towns expect it. It’s much more like they’re hitchhiking en masse. Half the students make it onto one bus and the others make it on another. One bus driver said he’d take them to Mexico City after he dropped off his passengers in Iguala.
It was a normal day until one bus driver locked the students inside.
Instead of dropping them outside the station, he went into the bus station and locked them inside the bus. The students trapped inside called their friends in the other bus and told them they were locked up. Worried for their friends, the students had the second bus driver be diverted to Iguala.
Enrique García tells us what happened next.
The students arrive in Iguala to rescue their friends from the locked bus. Reunited, they split up into five smaller groups to get on buses headed to Mexico City. By this time, authorities arrive at the bus station and enter into a confrontation. The students rush onto the buses and all the drivers drive away. Three buses head off unscathed. Another two buses had different outcomes.
Juan’s bus was blocked by a patrol car just outside the city.
So the students got out of the bus and started pushing the patrol car out of the way. Then, they heard gunshots and saw their friend Aldo get shot in the head. The students rushed back into the bus to take coverage from the gunfire, shouting, “No tenemos armas!” We don’t have any weapons!
Patrol cars had surrounded Juan’s bus and refused to let an ambulance get to Aldo.
Aldo laid there with a bullet in his head for 45 minutes before an ambulance was permitted to bring him to the hospital. It wasn’t until a group of brave students decided to risk their lives to carry Aldo out past the patrol cars to the ambulance. The rest of the students on that bus go missing.
Meanwhile, the other bus is also facing gunfire.
One student is shot in the face and bleeding profusely. The students are able to escape and scatter among different homes.
At midnight, they decide to call some journalists in fear the State would cover up their crimes by morning.
Most journalists wouldn’t show up because “the government said it was too dangerous.” This journalist did show up and had to hide from gunfire. He suspects that assault rifles were used, given the size of the bullets on the ground. Other students found refuge in a gracious man’s house, who said that the “official” truck they escaped from was a “pirate truck.” It allegedly picks up people.
The students who escaped authorities fled to a hospital which then called the authorities on them.
One of the students, Edgar, was bleeding badly from a bullet wound to his face. A few minutes after speaking with hospital staff, the police arrived and started beating the students. Then, as if the commander received an order, he apologized to the students. He said they received notice of an armed home invasion and, “how were they supposed to know they aren’t criminals?”
In that same neighborhood, a soccer team was traveling by bus when police stopped them and killed a 14-year-old boy.
This survivor walked outside the bus after the driver was shot and drove off the road. His assistant told police that they were just soccer players. He was shot twice—one bullet going through his liver. Then, they heard one officer say, “Commander, we f***ed up. They’re just a soccer team.”
By the morning, six had been confirmed dead and 57 were missing.
Funerals were planned and attended, with 57 boys still missing. One boy saw 20 students put into a police van and never seen again. Many believe that the attack was organized by the mayor of Iguala, José Luis Abarca Velázquez, and his wife.
The students allegedly planned to interrupt the mayor’s wife political campaign event, and it angered José Luis Abarca Velázquez.
It’s suspected that he unilaterally ordered police forces from several different surrounding cities to fire at the students for four hours straight. The mayor then requested a 30-day leave from office and entirely disappeared.
That planned October 2nd protest then became a protest demanding the students be returned alive.
The mothers of the children were interviewed and reportedly had “sentidos malos” about what happened. The government was saying that the boys were just afraid and in hiding and that they’d all return home eventually. They put the blame on the boys for going up against authorities.
Three days later, two pits were found with 28 bodies, suspected to be the students.
The following day, the governor speedily announced that the bodies don’t belong to the students. Within days, two more pits were found, bringing the body count up to 43. By October 18, the governor announced the arrest of Sidronio Casarrubias Salgado, the alleged leader of a gang named Guerreros Unidos.
The ultimate plot twist is that the students accidentally hijacked a bus that was shipping millions of dollars of heroin by a drug lord.
After investigative journalists discovered that police records didn’t include the names of the children but focused entirely on the license plate numbers, they wondered why? What’s so important about these two buses out of the six that the students ultimately commandeered?
A drug lord ordered the mayor to make sure he got his product back “by any means necessary.”
At the end of the day, the state was complicit in the cover-up of their own corruption with the drug cartel. The police killed those 43 students and dumped their bodies in one of the many pits that were eventually uncovered around the city. Systemic corruption and cartel-state issued murders were uncovered as the result of one of the most horrific crimes in Mexican history.
Only two bodies have been confirmed recovered.
The families continue to grieve the fate of their sons. At least 80 suspects have been arrested, more than half of whom were police officers. The official version of the story by the state of Guerrero directly contradicts the survivors’ testimony. It’s been four years.