In a world often caught up in brand names and an obsession for luxurious excess, you'd think that a man earning approximately 12,500 U.S. dollars per month would be in his glory. Such a man does exist, yet he's not emerging from imported cars while wearing tailored suits as he talks about his elaborate vacation. Instead, he favors a 1987 Volkswagen, lives in a one-bedroom farmhouse with his wife, owns a three-legged dog and enjoys donating about 90% of his hefty salary to local charities. Rather than live in the three-story palace that is rightfully his, he prefers it to be used as a homeless shelter.
Oh, and he's also the president of Uruguay, where the government establishes set pricing for essentials, such as certain foods, and also gives free education and computers to all children.
Jose Mujica, dubbed the "world's poorest president" for his significant contributions to the needy, considers himself anything but. "I'm not the poorest president. The poorest is the one who needs a lot to live," he said.
Mujica knows about hard times. He was once a member of a guerrilla "Robin Hood" group, known for its robberies and giving stolen food to the poor. He was shot a half dozen times and has spent almost 15 years behind bars. But since becoming the president of Uruguay in 2010, he's won people over worldwide.
These days, he's applauded for highly sensible thoughts and actions in a world that tends to embrace just the opposite. In fact, he refers to Uruguay as "an island of refugees in a world of crazy people." His low-key lifestyle, environmental efforts, same-sex marriage beliefs and charitable tendencies invigorate him and the people. Adding to his popularity is the fact that, under his leadership, cannabis has been legalized in Uruguay.uruguay ]