“Poorest President” in the World – Uruguayan President José Mujica


While our Nigerian leaders are being berated for refusing to declare their assets publicly and demanding astronomical pay rise to add to the already exorbitant allowances they receive, the President of Uruguay, José Mujica is getting world wide recognition and respect for donating 90 percent of his earnings to charitable causes.

He has earned what most people would call an enviable reputation as the “poorest,” or the “most generous,” president in the world. His nickname, “el presidente mas pobre” translates to “poorest president”.

The President said in a recent interview that the only big item he owns is his Volkswagen Beetle car, valued at $1,945 dollars (about N308,283) . He earns a salary of $12,500 a month (N1,981,250), but only keeps $1,250(N198,125) for himself, donating the rest to charity.

He lives in a farmhouse which is under his wife’s name, Lucía Topolansky, a Senator, who also donates part of her salary.

The 77 year-old who has been Uruguay’s president since March 1, 2010 told El Mundo, “I do fine with that amount; I have to do fine because there are many Uruguayans who live with much less.”

It was also reported that under his stewardship, Uruguay has become known for low levels of corruption. The South American country ranks as the second least corrupt country in Latin America in Transparency International’s global corruption index.

Yahoo News reported that the President has no bank accounts, no debts, and he enjoys the companionship of his dog, Manuela. When his term is over, the President hopes to rest even more peacefully in his farmhouse, along with his wife and his inseparable dog.

There is something about leading by example. When you do, it becomes easier for other people to follow.

Uruguay is the second smallest nation in South America by area, after Suriname. However it is one of the most developed countries on the continent, with a GDP per capita of $15,656. That’s less than half of United States’ GDP per capita, but it triples earnings in Honduras which has a GDP per capita of just $4,345. Under Mujica’s stewardship, Uruguay has become known for low levels of corruption. The South American country ranks as the second least corrupt country in Latin America in Transparency International’s global corruption index.

Uruguay also made it to the world cup 2010 semi-finals while Mujica was in office, and the country won the South American Soccer championships in 2011, stunning tournament hosts Argentina, in a memorable performance by striker Diego Forlan.

It seems therefore, that it’s a good time to be Jose Mujica. Without bank accounts, and with few debts, Mujica told El Mundo that he sleeps peacefully. When his term is over, the President hopes to rest even more peacefully in his farmhouse, along with his wife and his inseparable dog, Manuela.

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