Whereas most individuals aim for power and enormous money for themselves and their families, Uruguay’ s 40th president, Jose Alberto Pepe Mujica, would rather share his wealth with those who are less fortunate. He stood out from other leaders because of his humility and incredibly simple lifestyle.
His compassion for the less fortunate drove him to go above and beyond to guarantee that they were well cared for. As a young man, he had to resort to illicit ways to achieve his aim, but he finally rose to positions of power and influence. This is what made former President Jose Alberto ‘ Pepe’ Mujica the extraordinary leader that he was and continues to be.
The life of Jose Alberto ‘ Pepe’ Mujica
Mujica was born on May 20, 1935, in Montevideo, Uruguay, and spent much of his youth on the farm with his farmer father Demetrio Mujica, who died when Mujica was just five years old, and his mother Lucy Cordano. Because his mother came from a low- income background, the family suffered financially after his father died. Majica believed that everyone should have at least enough as a child.
Mujica had already started cycling for groups in various categories and establishing acquaintances in high places by the time he was 13 years old, trying to find a way to make a difference.
He subsequently joined the National Party, where he was very active and well- liked due to his charm and zeal. By the mid- 1960s, he had joined and become an active member of the MLN Tupamaros Movement, an armed political group inspired by the Cuban Revolution of 1953, which lasted from 1953 to 1959. The gorillas acted like Robin Hoods, robbing delivery vehicles and tanks and distributing the loot to the impoverished.
Records of His Arrests
Mujica not only took part in, but also led, one of the six squads that briefly took over Pando town in 1969. Mujica was shot six times during another of their operations in 1970, when he injured two police officers while resisting arrest. He was rescued and taken to a hospital before being sent to the Punta Carretas prison. Mujica was one of the 100 inmates who successfully escaped the prison in 1971, according to reports.
Mujica was arrested a couple of times after escaping from prison before his last arrest in 1972. He had run out of luck this time and was placed in special military detention with eight other Tupamaros members. He was imprisoned there for 13 years, including two years in solitary confinement, which he spent inside an old horse watering well. He was believed to have had a variety of health issues while in prison, including mental health issues.
His Release and Rise to Power
Mujica was released in 1985 under an amnesty law that covers political and associated military offences committed since 1962 in the newly established constitutional democracy.
You’ d think Mujica’ s stint in prison would frighten him away from politics, but you’ d be wrong. Shortly after his release, Mujica linked up with other members of the Tupamaros movement and other left- wing organizations to form (MPP) The Movement of Popular Participation, a new political party.
Mujica was elected deputy in 1994 and senator in 1999 after the party was accepted into the Broad Front coalition. Mujica’ s political party, the MPP, continued to develop popularity and was beginning to garner more votes from the public as a result of his charisma. By 2004, the party had risen to the top of the Broad Front’ s coalition.
Mujica was re- elected to the Senate in 2004, and his party, the MPP, received nearly 300, 000 votes, enhancing his political clout in the country and paving the way for his presidential candidate, Tabare Vazquez, to win. Mujica was elected as Uruguay’ s 40th president in the 2009 elections.
His Simple Lifestyle: Even as President
Many people around the world have marveled at Mujica’ s unconventional lifestyle over the years, since it’ s fascinating to watch a president who is entitled to so much choose to have so little and share it with those who are less fortunate. Before his term ended on March 1, 2015, Mujica was able to address the issue of being referred to as the ” poorest president” at an environmental crisis resolution forum attended by leaders from all around the world.
” A poor person isn’ t someone who has little, but someone who needs infinity, more and more and more, ” he said in his speech.
This was true since he was well- known for being a living embodiment of the term contentment. While most presidents take advantage of all the perks that come with the job, Mujica prefers to stick to his simple lifestyle.
As president, he contributed 90% of his monthly salary ($12, 000 at the time) to the county’ s least fortunate. He also acquired a Volkswagen Beetle for the equivalent of 1800 dollars in 1987, rather than using the costlier cars allotted for household usage. He even declined to live in the presidential mansion that came with his job. Instead, he chose to live with his wife, Lucia Topolansky, and their three- legged dog Manuela on a farm on the outskirts of Montevideo.
Mujica left office with a relatively strong economy and social stability that his larger counterparts could only dream of. ” He and his wife, as well as their dog, are still living on the property.