José “Pepe” Mujica Cordano is 76 years old, he travels in a 1987 Volkswagen, has a three-legged dog and grows his own vegetables. He is also the President of a country: Uruguay.
Mujica, an ex-guerrillero, lives in the Rincon del Cerro, a rural neighborhood in the outskirts of Motevideo, with his wife Lucia, with whom he shares his garden, his life and his ideals. The house, called Puebla, has three humid rooms with grey walls, a big armchair, a modest kitchen and a small library where, amongst others, one can find the Diary of the Che. Mujica offered the Presidential palace in the Prado neighborhood to the homeless, so that there wouldn’t be many deaths throughout the winter.
Of his monthly salary of 260,259 uruguayan pesos (almost 12,000USD), Mujica donates almost 90% of it to charity projects and foundations as well as to the functioning of his left-wing party, the “Movimiento de Participacion Popular” (MPP).
This leaves Mujica with approximately 1,000-1,500 USD a month, depending on what documents you read, but that’s the estimated sum. The President affirms that “that money suffices and has to suffice. There are uruguayans that live with a lot less”.
Amongst Mujica’s goals after he came to office in March 2010, is to tackle the issue of drugs and their legalization, so as to avoid the lucrative market of 30-40 million annual dollars from falling into the hands of smugglers.
Take a look at his speech at the Rio+20.
Chiara Romano Bosch.