Ruben Costas Aguilera is the prefect (governor) of Bolivia's Santa Cruz department for the Autonomy for Bolivia party. He was one of the nine Bolivian prefects directly elected in the general elections of 2005. This election was the result of several negotiations and large, peaceful public demonstrations in Santa Cruz. The Bolivian constitution says that prefects can only be appointed by the president, but because of the negotiations and popular desire, the Bolivian Congress approved Law 3015 to formalize the prefect election process.
Since he took office, he has been strongly critical of the government of President Evo Morales because of political, ideological and regional differences, also, his supporters claim that Morales is opposed to give the country's eastern departments more autonomy, as voted in a 2006 referendum, however, as it was written in the referendum's ballots the autonomy has to be approved and legislated by the constituent assembly. The constituent assembly produced a draft constitution which is rejected by large sectors of the population, especially in the eastern departments, and therefore tension between Costas and Morales has increased significantly. Shortly after the 2008 recall vote, Costas caused controversy when he attacked Morales, calling him a "dictator" and using the slur "macaco" (monkey).
He receives support mainly from the departments of Pando, Beni, Santa Cruz, and Tarija.
Costas is a Mestizo of Guarani descent.
Declarations the Ruben Costas, 4 de mayo de 2008
Autonomy for the rich ones, revolution for the poor men 1
Autonomy for the rich ones, revolution for the poor men 2
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