What Makes This Man The 'Poorest' President?
Uruguay's Jose Mujica gives 90% of his pay to charity
By Liam Carnahan, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2012 4:06 PM CST
Uruguay President Jose Mujica is seen in Oslo, Norway, Friday Oct. 14, 2011.   (AP Photo/Scanpix, Morten Holm)

(Newser) – He's a vegetarian, drives a 1987 VW Beetle, and runs a flower farm. Did we mention he's also the ruler of Uruguay? Jose Mujica is known as the world's 'poorest' president, but the one-time guerrilla revolutionary has chosen to shun the state's grand presidential home for his wife's ramshackle farmhouse. He chooses to give 90% of his monthly salary—about $12,000—to charities supporting the poor and small businesses, reports the BBC. He says spending 14 years as a political prisoner helped change his perspective on life.

"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," he explains. His lifestyle also exemplifies his environmental views: At a world summit this summer, he asked whether Earth has "enough resources so seven or eight billion can have the same level of consumption and waste that today is seen in rich societies?" But this doesn't mean he's a popular president. In fact, his approval rating has dipped below 50% after two controversial decisions: signing a bill to allow abortions during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and supporting a debate on the legalization of marijuana.

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Nov 27, 2012 2:46 PM CST
this guy sounds fucking awesome. we need more sensible, caring people like him in this world.
Nov 18, 2012 11:06 PM CST
He mentioned the question of billions of people on the planet, and it is an issue we must begin to address, seriously. Even just to live by the most spartan means, life remains a stretch for most of the world's population. After all, if history shows us anything, most of us are not the best. The planet is plagued with wars, stress and poverty. Then, there is illness, illiteracy, and hopelessness. Few of us work against the odds to make the place livable. Most of us are either lost to the idea, or do not have the basic consciousness to consider such.
Nov 18, 2012 2:38 PM CST
i wish him all the best! god bless!