Jose Mujica is “the world’s ‘humblest’ president”. His humble days as the 40th President of Uruguay (2010-2015) earned him the title.
Very often people wish they could have a leader who does not fancy the lavish and glamorous way of life. Luxury and the “good life” has become one of the perks of being a leader in our time.
Jose Mujica has proven that a leader could be down to earth and even 10 times over.
The beloved and humane former president was not always the calm personality that he has presently become. Nevertheless, his cause in life has always been constant – putting the welfare of the poor and less privileged first.
Mujica came from a humble background. Born on 20 May 1935, to Demetrio Mujica, of Spanish Basque ancestry, and Lucy Cordano, a daughter of Italian immigrants.
Like the Robinhood story he would use any violent means necessary to provide for the poor around him. He lived a controversial life, having series of fall-outs with the law.
On one occasion he was shot 6 times, but owed his life the surgeon who attended to him.
Jose Mujica was imprisoned for 13 years during the military dictatorship between the 1970-80s in Uruguay. After his release, his personality changed. He began to opt for more peaceful solutions to problems.
He made his way into politics. He became a minister and later won the 2010 presidential seat in a landslide.
Regardless of criticisms of his habit of not being or sounding presidential or politically correct, he still remains in the heart of the people for being who he was. In his reign, Uruguay’s economy and social stability was excellent.
While he was president, Jose religiously gave up about 90% of his monthly salary. From a pay of $12,000, he ended up keeping a meagre $800 dollars to himself while the rest went to charity homes.
Till date, the 81-year old world’s humblest president in history still lives with his wife in their farm. Together they grow flowers for sale. Of all the sleek automobiles in trend now, Mujica has wholeheartedly kept one car, a 1987 Volkswagen Beetle, which also served as his official car.
“I’ve lived like this most of my life, I can live well with what I have.”
“I’m called ‘the poorest president’, but I don’t feel poor. Poor people are those who only work to try to keep an expensive lifestyle, and always want more and more.”
Adding to this, he said:
“This is a matter of freedom. If you don’t have many possessions then you don’t need to work all your life like a slave to sustain them, and therefore you have more time for yourself.”