Modern Fable

After five years in power, the man described as the ‘world’s most humble president – Jose Mujica’ has stepped down from office in Uruguay.

By donating 90 percent of his salary to charity, his income was roughly equal to the average wage in Uruguay – $775 (£485) a month.

‘I have a way of life that I doesn’t change just because I am a president. I earn more than I need, even if it’s not enough for others. For me, it is no sacrifice, it’s a duty’.

Uruguay’s maverick president lives on a small farm on the outskirts of the capital. In a 2012 interview with the BBC, he explained: ‘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.

This (above) is the car of the president, whose lifestyle clearly differs sharply from that of most other world leaders. He was even offered $1m for the car by an Arab Sheikh, but said he didn’t give the offer ‘any importance’.

Jose Mujica has shunned the luxurious house that the Uruguayan state provides for its leaders and opted to stay at his wife’s farmhouse.

The president and his wife work the land themselves, growing flowers. His wife, a teacher by profession supported his lifestyle all along. While neighbouring Argentina and Brazil have suffered downturns in recent years, Uruguay has witnessed rising salaries and a historically low unemployment rate.

He said ‘as soon as politicians start climbing up the ladder, they suddenly become kings. I don’t know how it works, but what I do know is that republics came to the world to make sure that no one is more than anyone else.

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