LA PAZ – Bolivian President Evo Morales is suffering from viral and sinus infections that are controllable, but he could remain in Cuba for four or five more days while he undergoes treatment and recovers, Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera said on Thursday.
“His health is under control, the medical reports are positive and the ailments the president has are controllable, they’re rapidly treatable,” Garcia Linera told media outlets.
He added that the president has had an infection of the vocal cords for the past month-and-a-half, on top of which he has picked up a sinus infection and has been having significant internal pain on the right side of his abdomen.
The abdominal pain spurred the Council of Ministers to decide on Wednesday that Morales should travel to Cuba that same day to undergo a thorough physical exam lasting about five hours, and that exam was conducted Wednesday evening, the vice president said.
“I’m happy with this check-up. We were very concerned that it an internal organ could be involved, but there’s no condition in any internal organ. Rather, it’s a treatable virus,” said Garcia Linera, who spoke to Morales on Thursday morning.
He emphasized that there is no reason for public concern because the reports from Cuban doctors are “reassuring.”
Before Garcia Linera spoke with the media, the head of the Chamber of Deputies, Gabriela Montaño, and Rural Development Minister Cesar Cocarico said that five Bolivian doctors had no success in treating Morales and thus it was necessary for him to travel to Cuba.
The vice president denied that Morales’ trip abroad had any political motivation, for instance making it impossible for him to sign the controversial coca leaf bill that increases legal cultivation of the raw material for cocaine from 12,000 to 22,000 hectares (30,000 to 55,000 acres) in Bolivia.
The government contends that the new coca leaf production will be “industrialized” and that the plant and its legal derivatives will be exported, but the political opposition fears that more cropland devoted to coca leaf will result in drug traffickers being able to manufacture more cocaine.
Montaño had told reporters “bluntly” earlier in the day that the president has been “receiving treatment for more than a month-and-a-half in Bolivia with more than five specialists” but that the results have not been as hoped.
She said that Morales had traveled to Cuba, given that the treatment he had been receiving at home was not working.
The Council of Ministers at its Wednesday morning meeting, over which Morales presided, asked the president to travel to Cuba after coming to the conclusion that this was a problem that required priority attention, Montaño said.
Morales has been suffering from hoarseness and voice loss since January and the problem has been evident in many speeches he has given and events he has attended around the country.