HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Meet Uruguay's President ...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:17 PM

Meet Uruguay's President - who's chosen to live on a ramshackle farm and gives away most of his pay

Jose Mujica: The world's 'poorest' president

By Vladimir Hernandez
BBC Mundo, Montevideo

November 15 2012 Last updated at 00:29



It's a common grumble that politicians' lifestyles are far removed from those of their electorate. Not so in Uruguay. Meet the president - who lives on a ramshackle farm and gives away most of his pay.

Laundry is strung outside the house. The water comes from a well in a yard, overgrown with weeds. Only two police officers and Manuela, a three-legged dog, keep watch outside.

This is the residence of the president of Uruguay, Jose Mujica, whose lifestyle clearly differs sharply from that of most other world leaders.

President Mujica has shunned the luxurious house that the Uruguayan state provides for its leaders and opted to stay at his wife's farmhouse, off a dirt road outside the capital, Montevideo.

The president and his wife work the land themselves, growing flowers.

This austere lifestyle - and the fact that Mujica donates about 90% of his monthly salary, equivalent to $12,000 (7,500), to charity - has led him to be labelled the poorest president in the world.

"I've lived like this most of my life," he says, sitting on an old chair in his garden, using a cushion favoured by Manuela the dog.

"I can live well with what I have."

His charitable donations - which benefit poor people and small entrepreneurs - mean his salary is roughly in line with the average Uruguayan income of $775 (485) a month.

In 2010, his annual personal wealth declaration - mandatory for officials in Uruguay - was $1,800 (1,100), the value of his 1987 Volkswagen Beetle.



This year, he added half of his wife's assets - land, tractors and a house - reaching $215,000 (135,000).

That's still only about two-thirds of Vice-President Danilo Astori's declared wealth, and a third of the figure declared by Mujica's predecessor as president, Tabare Vasquez.

Elected in 2009, Mujica spent the 1960s and 1970s as part of the Uruguayan guerrilla Tupamaros, a leftist armed group inspired by the Cuban revolution.

He was shot six times and spent 14 years in jail. Most of his detention was spent in harsh conditions and isolation, until he was freed in 1985 when Uruguay returned to democracy.

Those years in jail, Mujica says, helped shape his outlook on life.

"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," he says.

"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," he says.

"I may appear to be an eccentric old man... But this is a free choice."


Mujica could have followed his predecessors into a grand official residence

The Uruguayan leader made a similar point when he addressed the Rio+20 summit in June this year: "We've been talking all afternoon about sustainable development. To get the masses out of poverty.

"But what are we thinking? Do we want the model of development and consumption of the rich countries? I ask you now: what would happen to this planet if Indians would have the same proportion of cars per household than Germans? How much oxygen would we have left?


Instead, he chose to stay on his wife's farm

"Does this planet have enough resources so seven or eight billion can have the same level of consumption and waste that today is seen in rich societies? It is this level of hyper-consumption that is harming our planet."

Mujica accuses most world leaders of having a "blind obsession to achieve growth with consumption, as if the contrary would mean the end of the world".

More: http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20243493

40 replies, 4468 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 40 replies Author Time Post
Reply Meet Uruguay's President - who's chosen to live on a ramshackle farm and gives away most of his pay (Original post)
Turborama Nov 2012 OP
hobbit709 Nov 2012 #1
bongbong Nov 2012 #9
niyad Nov 2012 #2
madokie Nov 2012 #3
Smilo Nov 2012 #5
Turborama Nov 2012 #11
TahitiNut Nov 2012 #20
Smilo Nov 2012 #4
librechik Nov 2012 #6
progressoid Nov 2012 #7
malaise Nov 2012 #8
Tsiyu Nov 2012 #10
bvar22 Nov 2012 #12
Tsiyu Nov 2012 #13
Turborama Nov 2012 #28
bvar22 Nov 2012 #30
magical thyme Nov 2012 #31
Tsiyu Nov 2012 #34
magical thyme Nov 2012 #35
Tsiyu Nov 2012 #36
magical thyme Nov 2012 #37
Tsiyu Nov 2012 #38
magical thyme Nov 2012 #39
Comrade Grumpy Nov 2012 #14
Turborama Nov 2012 #26
bvar22 Nov 2012 #15
Zorra Nov 2012 #33
Odin2005 Nov 2012 #16
Egalitarian Thug Nov 2012 #17
DeSwiss Nov 2012 #18
ChisolmTrailDem Nov 2012 #19
valerief Nov 2012 #21
LeftishBrit Nov 2012 #22
ck4829 Nov 2012 #23
Turborama Nov 2012 #24
LineReply ^
Wilms Nov 2012 #25
Zorra Nov 2012 #27
Egalitarian Thug Nov 2012 #29
Posteritatis Nov 2012 #32
BlancheSplanchnik Jan 2013 #40

Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:22 PM

1. That would be Mittens and Ann's worst nightmare-living like that.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to hobbit709 (Reply #1)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:49 PM

9. Not just theirs

 

Flip-Flopper's slaves probably live better than that!



Kudos to Mujica for not selling out.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:23 PM

2. k and r

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:30 PM

3. The world needs more like him

The richest man alive is what I'd call him. Rich is being content with what one has, I truly believe that.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to madokie (Reply #3)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:31 PM

5. Sorry you posted as I was typing - but great minds.........

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to madokie (Reply #3)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 01:01 PM

11. I totally agree


Hopefully the BBC were hinting at that by using parenthesis when they said he's the 'poorest' - not really meaning it, or even being ironic.

I really admire his humility and empathy, too.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to madokie (Reply #3)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 03:24 PM

20. Yup. Rich isn't having what you want, it's wanting what you have.

This guys values are exemplary.


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:31 PM

4. I would say he is the richest president in the world

what a wonderful example to his people and what a wonderful man he must be.

I feel so humble when I read about someone like this.

Thank you and good luck President Mujica.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:33 PM

6. movin to Montevideo soon, gonna be a dental floss tycoon

lol

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:43 PM

7. "It is this level of hyper-consumption that is harming our planet."

Amen.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:46 PM

8. I like this man

Rec

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:54 PM

10. Ha! I live like a president!




Some may laugh and scorn me, but then I laugh at their addiction to new expensive stuff and cheap energy, and the way they are willing to spend hours every week in mind-grinding traffic, while they spend their working lives on their knees to corporate bullies so they can turn around and pay these bullies for their overpriced, slave-labor-made, latest hyped Must Have..

Some on here laugh at the hillbilly who eschews the modern American lifestyle. These DUers wouldn't recognize paradise: a beautiful dawn, a meal fresh out of the garden, a hike to a waterfall, helping a neighbor, people on front porches waving and drivers waving as you pass each other on the way. And they don't realize we laugh at them as they zoom around the mountain as tourists, looking shellshocked and always as if they're searching for something but don't even know what that something is.

To each his or her own, as they say.

Everything has its dark side, of course, but I wish more people would think about what their consumption means to the planet. I love my family with their fancy houses, but I wonder why they have to leave every light in the house burning.








Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Tsiyu (Reply #10)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 01:10 PM

12. Hi, Friend.

We also have chosen this path.
In 2006, we sold everything,
moved from the Big City to The Woods,
started producing our own food
and reducing our energy consumption.
So far, so good.

It is a process.
Next year, we will !CONSUME! even less.

As I was standing in our garden eating a Garden Ripe Strawberry one beautiful morning last Spring,
I had an epiphany:
The Richest Man in The World will NOT be able to BUY a Strawberry
that is better than the one I just ate.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bvar22 (Reply #12)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 01:19 PM

13. The nice thing is we are not touched by the vicissitudes of the market



it's all the same from day to day.

The sad thing is all the rich fucks are eating up the cheap land and trying to bring Disney World along with them.

It's nice and quiet here, though. Peace is easy to achieve, even if life is physically more demanding.

Funny as hell: yesterday I saw a woman at a little local store dressed in her bathrobe, her hair wrapped in a towel. Nobody cares. The sentiment: we all gotta take a shower, and sometimes on the mountain you gotta travel to do it ( people in the NE are figuring that out about now ) so no big deal.

In the city? Or the suburbs? People would be wondering what the fuck?

My one trip to LA, seeing everyone in the clubs wearing the exact same outfit, really cracked me up and made me feel sorry for the sheep. They are told what to wear and they by god wear it! Nobody gives a damn what you wear here.





Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bvar22 (Reply #12)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 01:23 AM

28. I'm envious

Something we aspire to do one day, once we've saved up enough money - which as things stand will be a long time, but it's a dream which keeps us going.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Reply #28)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 12:03 PM

30. It is worth it in the long run.

We made our decision after Campain/Election 2004 (our system is fucked), and Katrina. I was in New Orleans immediately after the storm. When I returned to Minneapolis I told my wife, "Its time."

We made a list of our necessities & preferences:
*Far from Urban & Industrial Pollution

*Surrounded by National Forest

*On property source of abundant clean water

*Long Growing Season

*Low Cost of Living

*Far from Large Factory Farms and GM contamination

*Hilltop location (no downflow contamination from neighbors)

*Undeveloped, pristine area.
Unzoned, No building Permits, No Inspections, No HOA, no close neighbors

*Minimum 10 acres

*Inside our price range
(The list was longer, but those were the main points)

Like everybody, we wanted the Pacific North West, preferably around Portland. we looked for a year, but nothing was anywhere close to our price range, or fit our requirements.

We finally found a place that matched our needs in the Ouachita Mountains of West/Central Arkansas.
It met every requirement, and more.
We live there today with no regrets.


We have a great Veggie Garden that keeps getting better as we learn more
and develop methods of stretching our growing season.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=246x11812

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=246x12169

We have established fruit trees, various berries, and mature Asparagus plots.
We have too many chickens, but love them all,
and two healthy, productive European Honey Bee Colonies.
We are producing a good percentage of our food,
and could survive on our own with the addition of the plentiful wild game if that became necessary, though Winters would be bleak.

It IS a process.
We have changed our goal from "Completely Independent, Sustainable Lifestyle"
to an attainable one of becoming more Independent/Sustainable every year.
Next year, we will CONSUME less.

General Rule of Thumb:
It will cost twice as much,
take 3 times as long,
and require 5 times as much Labor
as your most conservative estimate.

Good Luck with your dream.
It is SCARY to Take the Leap.
It took a disaster on the scale of Katrina/New Orleans to push us off our Safe Place.



Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Tsiyu (Reply #10)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 12:28 PM

31. Me three...

2003, sold small city condo and moved to mini-farm in Maine. Grow most of my own veggies. Horse in back yard. One of these days I may add hens, but I'm afraid after they stop laying they'll become another set of retired freeloaders

The only change I see coming to me is if I'm able to sell this place, I'll move further out. The house here is nearly twice the square footage I wanted or needed, but it was the closest I could find to my size. I have my eye on a little cottage to my north w/10 acres fields and woods and a spring-fed stream...

My only real luxury is my horse, but someday when the oil and gas run out, I'll teach her to drive, I'll be the wealthiest woman in town and taxi services will be my final career

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to magical thyme (Reply #31)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 01:42 PM

34. The mares make more sense most days than a lot of people I know

even their poop has value - lol

and those hens are good bug eaters even after they quit laying!

Speaking of horse-drawn taxis, I was admiring my neighbors' cart and pony on election day; I'm gonna have to teach the horses to pull the car if I don't get a cart of my own soon...just trying to figure out what to hook the harness to on the car, the door frames?

Also: been studying the Travellers for something I'm writing, and they have these awesome little horse drawn houses. If all else fails, we can become gypsies....















Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Tsiyu (Reply #34)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 07:41 PM

35. the quality gypsy vanners are cute as the dickens, but I wouldn't want to have to deal

with keeping the fetlock fur clean and featherly! My girl's mane is bad enough...some days I send her out with it neatly brushed and she comes back with dreadlocks. It also literally "self-braids," albeit with knots.

Oh, another use is dragging logs. I saw an arab advertised in Colorado that drags logs from the woods. I guess only smaller ones, but still...how cool is that!

For the bugs I want guinea hens. We have lyme disease up here now, so good tick control is essential.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to magical thyme (Reply #35)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 08:22 PM

36. Oh, my girls' manes are a mess right now

The only thing that really works is that Mane'n'Tail detangler for me. Funny, have you read about the people who say the faeries braid the horses hair at night? Sometimes it seems so, when you comb them out nice and the next morning they're in "braids."

I had to blanket the old girl finally. She can't handle the cold. I tried to blanket the Arab, but she was "no way!" about it. Man would I love to train her to log, but she's so spooky sometimes I'd probably end up knocked upside the head with a tree.

Guinea hens are cool, just never grab them by the tail as I learned the hard way.

edit: main for mane for maine?







Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Tsiyu (Reply #36)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 09:38 AM

37. I've been able to blanket my little girl for the first time

without cross ties. As long as she gets to sniff it and make certain it's not some evil, foreign snare, she's been good with it. A far cry from the 2 1/2 year old that cracked a rib with a double-barreled kick at point blank range. Ouch.

I like Cowgirl Magic detangler. Maybe I'm just a sucker for cute names, but it does seem to work well and leaves her mane nice and soft without any sticky residue.

Yeah, I can easily imagine Dahli running for her life with a log flying around behind

I'd forgotten about the faeries, but have a vague memory of reading that somewhere, sometime. We definitely have a fairy that visits here every so often

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to magical thyme (Reply #37)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 10:55 AM

38. Cowgirl Magic

I'll have to check that out. Do you get it online or does Tractor Supply carry it? I'm out of the other stuff and I don't dare tackle the tangles without it.

Yeah, my Arab wants that blanket when she's really cold. She used to grab it with her teeth and shake it when we had a big barn and it was hung up. That's when I knew she wanted it. But she wasn't cold enough the other night and she does have a thick coat now. When she wants the coat on, she'll stand still, but if she doesn't? Yeah, she turns that ass around and glares!

The old girl will let you do anything. She is so sweet and calm, and even though she has a nice thick coat, too, she can't hold her temperature as well. She was very happy to have her coat on.




Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Tsiyu (Reply #38)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 02:09 PM

39. We don't have a Tractor Supply around here that I'm aware of...

We have a True Value hardware store with a humongous horse and pet section where I can get pretty much of everything. That's where I get the Cowgirl Magic. I like their horse shampoo the best, too. Again, no sticky residue and my old geldings mane and tail would be so silky they were almost impossible to braid.

There was one popular horse shampoo that came out some years ago that they advertised people were using for themselves. Can't remember which, but it left so much residue that my old gelding's tail turned into a gummy mass! It took many repeat washings with dish detergent to remove it. Aaaack...never again.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 01:23 PM

14. He also wants Uruguay to have state-run marijuana stores.

And has introduced legislation to that effect.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Comrade Grumpy (Reply #14)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 01:10 AM

26. To be honest, I hadn't heard about that until reading this profile

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 01:24 PM

15. The Populist Reforms and Emerging Social Democracies in Latin America...

...give me hope for The World!

In their obsession with Iraq, the Bush administration let Latin America slip under their radar,
and our neighbors in Latin America were able to replace Oligarchs with democratically elected Populist/Socialist governments.

America's support for one of the few remaining Right Wing Police State governments, Colombia
is a disgrace.
Unfortunately, the Obama Administration has followed the Bush Policy here too.
He recently rewarded the Right Wing Colombian government and their Corporate Oligarchs a brand new "Free Trade" Deal despite their horrible Human Rights record of executing people who try to organize Labor Unions.

"The worst enemy of humanity is U.S. capitalism. That is what provokes uprisings like our own, a rebellion against a system, against a neoliberal model, which is the representation of a savage capitalism. If the entire world doesn't acknowledge this reality, that nation states are not providing even minimally for health, education and nourishment, then each day the most fundamental human rights are being violated."
----Bolivian Reform President Evo Morales


FDR said much the same thing in 1944 with his Economic Bill of Rights,
so there IS a foundation for these reforms right here in the USA.

Spread the Word.
VIVA Democracy!!!
I pray we get some here soon!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bvar22 (Reply #15)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 01:26 PM

33. Great post. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 01:27 PM

16. Now THAT'S a president I want to have a beer with!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 01:55 PM

17. K&R. Gotta love him. n/t

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 02:32 PM

18. K&R

''Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.'' ~Edward Abbey

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 02:35 PM

19. I like this guy! Also, thank you Turborama for bringing this

the story of this man to our attention!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 03:25 PM

21. Wow, this reads like fiction. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 03:33 PM

22. Well; good for him! I wish more of our leaders would do the same.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 03:37 PM

23. Now that's true austerity. Start at the top. Bravo.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 07:31 PM

24. An outstanding speech he made in Rio in July that you guys are going to love!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:36 PM

25. ^

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 01:19 AM

27. OMG I love this man!

I guess I'm gonna run for President.

I don't really want or need much, so if y'all just pay me $10 an hour (just for 40 hrs a week, no OT) so I can pay for my food, and some reasonably affordable medical bennies, I'll work for you. I'll live in an RV powered by solar on the WH grounds so I don't have to cost y'all much to support me. I'll use my own car and bicycle, and take public transpo when flying somewhere necessary. I can make my own lunches, too.

I promise never to lie to you. You can put everything I do as President on live video, (except for some hours when I sleep, or shit like critical national security issues that can't be in the open cuz it would counterproductive, but you can televise all the entrances to my place 24/7 and monitor communications if you want) kind of like a reality show, only real reality. I don't really want anything, except for everyone to be as happy as posiible and have enough to eat and stuff like that. So I have nothing to gain except to serve my people and create a better world for everyone. I don't particularly want to do this cuz it will be a real hassle, but I think I would do a really good job at it, so I'd do it for awhile, I don't have much of anything better to do but contemplate existence and that gets old after awhile. And hey, if someone wants to shoot me, no BFD. I'm gonna die someday anyway. Can't scare me.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=439x767568

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 05:04 AM

29. Gotta look into their immigration policy. n/t

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 12:59 PM

32. I do believe I like this fellow

How's that for setting an example? Even the dog's short a limb.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Sat Jan 19, 2013, 04:58 AM

40. cool! love this guy

Talk about walkin the talk!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread