World’s ‘poorest’ president
 


November 17, 2012 - Updated 120 PKT
From Web Edition
 
 
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MONTEVIDEO: Leaders of other poor countries live in mansions and MPs take up residence in plush hotel suites but Jose Mujica, President of Uruguay, lives on an old farmhouse, having shunned the luxury of the presidential palace in the capital city of Montevideo.

The 77-year-old vegetarian president lives on his wife's half-dilapidated farmhouse where he fetches water from a well in a yard overgrown with weeds and hangs out his clothes on a line to dry in the open.

While presidents of even some of the poorest countries in the world ride in mile-long bullet proof limousines with hordes of security operatives and elite military guardsmen armed to the teeth swarming around them, Mujica drives a 1987 VW Beetle and his official retinue of guards consist of a mongrel missing one leg and two police officers.

The BBC reports that Mujica not only lives austerely in spite of the fact that he is a president, he donates 90 percent of his monthly salary of $12,000 to charity. Donating so much of his salary to poor and small entrepreneurs means that he receives a paltry $775 a month, comparable to the income of the average Uruguayan.

BBC reports he comments: "I'm called 'the poorest president', but I don't feel poor. Poor people are those who only work to try to keep an expensive lifestyle, and always want more and more.

"This is a matter of freedom. 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.”

"I may appear to be an eccentric old man... But this is a free choice," he added. (Monitoring Desk)