Evo Morales hoaxed by a Spanish Church-owned radio station

Friday, December 23, 2005

Evo Morales has fallen foul of a “bad taste joke” by a Catholic radio station joker who posed as the Spanish Prime Minister Jose Rodriguez Zapatero. The voice imitator telephoned Evo Morales to congratulate him for “joining the Cuban-Venezuelan axis” and asked him to make Spain his first international destination as president of Bolivia.

The journalist involved in the hoax is said to be an anti-socialist activist very critical of Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and the government of Rodriguez Zapatero.

Erick Torrico, chairman of the Area of Communication and Journalism for the Andean University Simon Bolivar has rejected the action calling it “an offense that goes beyond the person” […] “It is an insult against the people of Bolivia, a major blunder which is also an attack against the dignity of the Spanish Prime Minister” and demanded a “clear explanation from the Government of Madrid about the incident that seems aimed to undermine the credibility of the president elect”.

Raul Penaranda, chairman of the weekly magazine “Epoca” said that the joke was “wrong, unethical, ill intentioned and irresponsible

Rodriguez Zapatero later spoke to Morales to transmit to him a genuine message of congratulations from the Spanish government and stated that the call made by the imitator was “unacceptable.”

The Spanish government backed up the formal complaint made by the Bolivian embassy in Madrid to the Director of the Catholic Church as they considered that the call was an "offense to the Bolivian People".