Time for your morning dose of perspective: Do you think that every nation’s leader takes a great paycheck home to a swanky mansion? Meet Jose Mujica, the world’s “poorest” president who lives in a shack and has just under $2,000 to his name.
Mujica, the president of Uruguay, lives a life that is dramatically different from other politicians across the world, even those world leaders who didn’t build a kingdom on the backs of their citizens are often criticized for lifestyles far loftier than that of their electorates, but Mujica stands in stark contrast from what we’d associate with the title of “President.”
A vegetarian, the 77-year-old Mujica lives on his wife’s tiny farm where the water comes from a well and the laundry hangs outside, reports MSN. Further, he only owns old furniture and drives a 1987 VW Beetle. His farm is guarded by two police officers and Manuela, a three-legged dog.
As stated above, Mujica only has about $1,800 to his name, earning him the title of “world’s poorest president,” but it’s not because Uruguay is in such bad shape. Even Mujica himself isn’t in such bad shape, actually.
You see, the world’s poorest president is just that by choice. BBC reports that Mujica actually turned down the chance to stay at the Uruguayan presidential residence, and donates 90% of his monthly salary (about $12,000) to charity.
To put this in perspective, imagine President Obama turning down residency at the White House in favor of a 1-bedroom apartment on the outskirts of Chicago, willingly choosing to “scrape by” just like everyone else.
“I’ve lived like this most of my life,” the world’s poorest president says. “I can live well with what I have.”
Living the way he does by choice helps Mujica keep himself humble, he says.
“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,” he says. “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,” he says.
“I may appear to be an eccentric old man … But this is a free choice.”
What do you think of Jose Mujica, the world’s poorest president?