This is an example of what leadership should be about – maybe Wall Street could take note.
The world undoubtedly needs more people like former Uruguay’s president Jose “Pepe” Mujica. He may have passed the presidential mantle to the current president Tabare Vazquez, but he will surely be missed. Mujica resigned after five years in power, but his legacy will surely live forever. He is billed as the world’s poorest president and left office a year ago with an approval rating of more than 70 percent. His reasons for remaining the world’s poorest president will surprise you, but believe it or not, he truly shunned the luxurious lifestyle that comes with being a country’s president.
While it has become a common thing for many electorates around the world to moan about their politicians’ luxurious lifestyles, Mujica’s case was so different. Mujica shunned the presidential palace for his tiny 3-bedroomed farmhouse. He was not known as the world’s poorest president for nothing. This is a president who shared this tiny farmhouse with his three-legged dog, Manuela, his wife and two police guards. You will be utterly surprised when you see pictures of his modest home.
Mujica is famed for having been shot six times and spending a total of 14 years in jail for opposing a former dictator. However, he is even more famous for donating 90% of his monthly salary to the poor and to charity. He earned a modest $12,000 monthly, but took home around $1,000 that roughly equals Uruguay’s average monthly wage.
In an interview that Mujica gave in 2012, He said; “I have a lifestyle that I cannot change just because I’m president.”
Believe it or not, Mujica never traveled around in chauffeur-driven limousines like his counterparts. Instead, he drove himself in an old 1987 Volkswagen beetle. And because he believed that he earned more than he actually required, Mujica once turned down $1 million that was offered to him by an Arab Sheikh for his old beetle. Surprisingly, Mujica once gave lift to an ordinary citizen who was walking to work in his beetle.
Mujica came in for lots of criticism for his unimpressive dressing style and posture, but he just could not change. He never wore ties and surprisingly attended state functions in casual attires. He shunned red carpets and rebuked those who referred to him as ‘sir.’
Mujica left Uruguay in a proper economic health state, despite being known as the world’s poorest president. Salaries were on the rise while unemployment levels greatly decreased. He legalized marijuana, gay marriages and abortion; issues that are considered taboo in the South America. Mujica is retired and currently on a state pension. But unlike some former presidents, Mujica will find it easy getting used to the drop in income because it was already his way of living.