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Jose Mujica


Former Uruguayan President Jose Mujica

Who would have thought that an ex-guerilla would be the one of the most efficient president of all? Meet Jose Alberto “Pepe” Mujica Cordano. He served as president of Uruguay from March 1, 2010 to March 1, 2015.  So what sets him apart from any usual president? Here are some facts.

He was born from poor immigrant parents from Liguria. His father earned them a living by being a farmer. He joined a MLN-Tupamaros movement, a Cuban Revolution inspired political armed group, in the mid-1960s. He eventually became a guerilla leader and was put to jail for thirteen years after he was arrested. Never did he regretted his stay in the prison as he believed it was what shaped his character.

Events turned around for Jose Mujica when democracy was restored in 1985. He then joined left-wing organizations for a change. He was the elected as deputy in 1994 and in 1999, a senator. With his charisma, he continued to gain more supporters, thus more votes, leading him to land as President.

At the height of his term as president he was able to put Uruguay back to the world map. He turned Uruguay into an energy-exporting nation from a simple cattle-ranching country. He aggravated the poverty rate from thirty-nine percent to eleven percent. Not only that, he was also able to legalize abortion, same-sex marriage and took detainees which may sound absurd to some, yet these are few of the reasons that made him one of the “progressive leaders” in Latin America.

Admitted to a changed life, Jose Mujica lived a simple life amidst his reign as president. He lives in a farm outside Montevideo instead of staying in the presidential mansion. He drives a 1987 Volkswagen Beetle instead of other luxury cars he can afford. With his “presidential” salary, the ninety percent of it he gives to charities.

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