Modest yet bold, liberal and fun-loving.”
Naming Uruguay the country of the year in 2013, the Economist may very well have described the rising nation’s head of state, President José “Pepe” Mujica.
Known for his unusual frankness, fiery oration and bold leadership to turn ideas into action, the 78-year-old leader possesses and practices the very characteristics that many world leaders fail to emulate. He has also garnered international acclaim for his progressive policies, down-to-earth personality and simplepresentation, which has earned him a reputation as “the world’s poorest president.”
Living in a small, one-bedroom farm with his wife, Sen. Lucia Toplansky, and a number of dogs (including three-legged Manuela), Mujica donates 90% of his salary to charity, leads by example in an age of austerity and has gained international acclaim for pushing ahead with policies on cannabis legalisation, same-sex marriage and abortion, while decrying excessive consumption.
Mujica practices the simplicity he preaches. Here are some of our favorite quotes by the one-of-a-kind president with a powerful message:
1. On revolutions and revolts
“I’ve seen some springs that ended up being terrible winters. We human beings are gregarious. We can’t live alone. For our lives to be possible, we depend on society. It’s one thing to overturn a government or block the streets. But it’s a different matter altogether to create and build a better society, one that needs organization, discipline and long-term work. Let’s not confuse the two of them. I want to make it clear: I feel sympathetic with that youthful energy, but I think it’s not going anywhere if it doesn’t become more mature.” (Source)