Uruguay’s President Jose Mujica known as the world’s poorest president has rejected the luxurious presidential life, and residence the government provided for him, opting to live on his wife’s farm located on a dirt road outside the country’s capital. They have no domestic workers – they do all the farm work by themselves. The only staff they have are two police officers.
His official car is a 1987 Volkswagen Beetle. He donates 90% of his monthly salary to charity.
In an interview with BBC, he said:
“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.”
“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…”
Mujica also has unique views about poverty alleviation. In the 2012 Rio+20 summit he stated:
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?
“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 also refuses to wear a tie, and it has nothing to do with fashion. Sandals are the staple of most of his outfits. Correspondingly, during an interview he once stated:
“The tie is a useless rag that constrains your neck.
I’m an enemy of consumerism. Because of this hyperconsumerism, we’re forgetting about fundamental things and wasting human strength on frivolities that have little to do with human happiness.”
Photo Credit: Getty Images/AP