A Uruguayan named Jose #AtoZChallenge

Do you know the name, Jose Mujica?
Remember your answer.

He used to be a bad guy when he was young - a guerilla warfare fighter, he used to rob gun clubs, bad banks and corrupt businesses and give the money to the poor. He was shot multiple times and spent a total of 14 years in jail for his crimes during those years, including solitary imprisonment which broke him mentally - and transformed him.

President Jose Mujica living off less than $1250 with his wife and two dogs, including his three-legged guard dog who fights with him for possession of the chair cushion.

Even after landing a honest job, as he turned 80, Jose Mujica still dutifully went to work every day though he never wore a tie and rarely tucked his shirt in, even during official meetings. Over the last few decades, when he was not at work, the vegetarian would grow flowers in his garden which he sold.

Do you know Jose Mujica?


You should. After all, he was the President of Uruguay between 2010 to 2015.

A President who donated 90% of his monthly $12,000 salary to charities, living off less than $1250 with his wife and two dogs, including his three-legged guard dog who fights with him for possession of the chair cushion. (That three legged dog forms 33% of the security of the President, the remaining 66% consisting of two police officers.)

Uruguayan President Jose Mujica chose not to live in the palatial Presidential House and instead stayed back in the tiny, one-bedroom house of his wife beside the farm, which receives water from the well and greets visitors with laundry strung outside the house.
Not quite as fancy as the White House now, is it?

A President who chose not to live in the palatial Presidential House and instead stayed back in the tiny, one-bedroom house of his wife beside the farm which receives water from the well and greets visitors with laundry strung outside the house.

Jose Mujica A President who still drives his 30 year old car to work even today, even famously stopping to help hitch-hikers along the way.
A President who still drives his 30 year old car to work even today, even famously stopping to help hitch-hikers along the way.

Jose Mujica, Uruguayan President. At public hospitals, he waits for his turn like his fellow citizens.
At public hospitals, he waits for his turn like his fellow citizens.

He is the reason Uruguay was chosen as the 'Country of the Year' in 2013 by The Economist which valued 'virtue over impact'.

He is the man who helped the most liberal country in South America glide unscathed through the economic and political waves that hit South America, coming out with a comparatively better health economy and reducing the unemployment rate significantly.

Uruguayan Jose Mujica on addictions and love

Add to this a progressive nature which meant supporting same-sex marriages and being pro-abortion while also legalizing cannabis (he hates it himself) just so that the consumers in his country do not fall prey to the underground drug mafias that scarred the rest of South America.

Why I want you to remember Jose Mujica

In a series featuring everyday heroes instead of popular celebrities, Jose Mujica is the exception.
You do not need to agree with his politics but you need to admire a President who chooses to stay humble and live an austere life like his citizens. A man who sets a shining example of being 'one of the people' in ways few, if any, leaders in history ever have.

Jose Mujica quote on future of Uruguay and his legacy
In a world which idolizes so many polarizing political leaders, why did we not hear more often of the man the media christened "the World's Humblest President?"

This is part of my #AtoZChallenge where I will be focusing on Real Life Heroes: Shining Examples of Kindness and Compassion. You can find other real-life heroes here.

14 Comments

  1. Whoa this is oen leader way out of his league; none can compare to him! I wonder how I have never heard of him before!!! It takes so much strength to do what he did to live his l ife as a public figure and worked for his country so selflessly!
    Amazing!!!
    ​Unzymotic Road Trip

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  2. When I read the line about him having been the President, I went "What!" There are political leaders, and then there are leaders. Man!

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  3. Whoa... there are people like this??? He is a true leader... not a politician!

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  4. Yet another winner Roshan. Today when I am feeling particularly down this made me feel good

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  5. This is another example of nothing is lost, you can always reclaim life and be the best version of yourself!
    <a href="http://twinklingtinacooks.com/>Tina</a>

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  6. You can write the story of your life, it is never too late!
    Celebrating 'Women & their work' all April @NamySaysSo Ugly duckling retold

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  7. And here we have roads blocked and clogging traffic when a bloody damn MLA or a MP travels.

    I bow down to this guy. If only we Indians followed such things on social media.

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  8. Wonderful uplifting post about an amazing leader. We need more inspirational leaders like this one. Thanks for sharing about him. We need positive posts like this.

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  9. Thanks for sharing the details about Jose Mujica. What an inspiring man! If only other leaders (one in particular, last name starts with 'T') could embrace Jose's values. Even in his former life as a criminal, he did a lot of good. A modern-day 'Robin Hood'. Great story, Roshan!

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  10. Such a simple man at this stature! It made me think of Warren Buffet!

    Cheers
    BoisterousBee

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  11. He is indeed an example for all leaders to follow! So much humility!

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  12. Manjula RaoApril 26, 2017

    Now, this is one story that deserves to go viral! An inspirational human being, setting an example for the rest of the world.

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  13. OMG!! That's unbelievable!! A President living in a one bedroom cottage!! There's so much to learn from Jose... Truly inspiring!

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So what do you think ?