The Uruguayan President José Mujica, who earned the nickname of the “poorest” or the “most generous” president in the world, is definitely not your average politician.
I just came across an article about this man, who is getting world wide recognition and respect for donating 90% of his earnings to charitable causes, and was really inspired.
Not only he donates about 90% of his salary ($12,500 a month) to charities, but he also lives in a modest house at his wife’s flower farm, and drives a 1987 VW Beetle (valued at $1,945) which is listed as his only personal asset.
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.”
During the coldest days of the winter of 2012, Mujica offered the use of the presidential residence, normally used for government meetings, to serve as shelter for homeless families. The Ministry of Social Development (MIDES) managed to find suitable alternatives, and the Presidential Palace was not used, but it remains as an option in case of emergencies.
In June 13 to 22, 2012, president Mujica attended Rio+20, the 20-year follow-up to the 1992 Earth Summit / United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro and gave an inspirational and moving speech on “Human Happiness and the Environment”, which was deemed as probably one of the best speeches of the conference. (source)
Excerpts from the speech:
- “Today, man does not govern the forces he has unleashed, but rather, it is these forces that govern man; and life. Because we do not come into this planet simply to develop, just like that, indiscriminately. We come into this planet to be happy. Because life is short and it slips away from us. And no material belonging is worth as much as life, and this is fundamental.“
- “But if life is going to slip through my fingers, working and over-working in order to be able to consume more, and the consumer society is the engine-because ultimately, if consumption is paralyzed, the economy stops, and if you stop economy, the ghost of stagnation appears for each one of us, but it is this hyper-consumption that is harming the planet.”
- “I’m not talking about returning to the days of the caveman, or erecting a “monument to backwardness.” But we cannot continue like this, indefinitely, being ruled by the market, on the contrary, we have to rule over the market.”
- “Development cannot go against happiness. It has to work in favor of human happiness, of love on Earth, human relationships, caring for children, having friends, having our basic needs covered. Precisely because this is the most precious treasure we have; happiness. When we fight for the environment, we must remember that the essential element of the environment is called human happiness.”
Read the full speech here.
Politicians of my country, please get inspired!