Being a president may take you to marbled mansions with crystal walls and may give you the lavish lifestyle that anyone else dreams of, but Uruguay’s former president chose a different path.
Jose Mujica is considered as the ‘World’s Poorest President’ because of his meek lifestyle during his term. Ninety-percent of his $12,000 monthly income consistently went to charity, which is one of the reasons why thousands have a great appreciation for his kindness.
Years before entering the realm of politics, he was a guerilla fighter. He had a group called the ‘Robin Hoods’. Together, they robbed gun clubs, bad banks, and any illegal businesses then gave the money to the poor. In a span of 14 years, he has been jailed twice and has been shot six times.
Even during his presidency, Mujica was also a part-time farmer. He planted flowers on the farm and then sold them to the public. Farming is his way to stay in touch with the struggles of his people. He lived in a simple house in the outskirts of Montevideo with his wife, Lucia Topolansky, and dog, Manuela. His chosen car wasn’t one of those luxurious brands as well. He drives a vintage 1987 Volkswagen Beetle.
“The poorest is the one who needs a lot to live… My lifestyle is a consequence of my wounds. I’m the son of my history. There have been years when I would have been happy just to have a mattress,” he said.
Mujica didn’t mind too much about his security. In fact, he only had three guards and, of course, his three-legged dog. The way he dresses up wasn’t also an issue for him. He was always in his casual clothes he was hardly seen wearing a tie even on political conferences.
Mujica left office in 2015 with a healthy economy that the bigger neighboring countries could only dream of. Truly, he was an inspiration to many for being an exceptional leader. Hopefully other politicians and aspiring ones will follow his path.
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