30 October 2013

A politician of rare humility and wisdom

Uruguay is not a very important country in the grand scheme of international affairs, so we don't hear much about it. Nor about its president, José Mujica. We should hear more. President Mujica is a politician who serves as a model for others of his profession.

To begin with, he rejects the trappings of power. Upon election, he refused to move into the luxurious house provided for presidents, choosing instead to live on a small farm owned by his senator wife. He drives an old Volkswagen Beetle. Furthermore, he donates 90 percent of his salary to charity, a practice that has earned him the title "the world's poorest president."  Poor by some standards, perhaps, but not by his. "My definition of poor are those who need too much," he says, "Because those who need too much are never satisfied."

"The thing is," he explains, "I have a way of life that I don't change just because I am a president. I earn more than I need, even if it's not enough for others."

Preaching simplicity and living it, he sets an example of the kind of lifestyle that could lead humanity to a sustainable economy.

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