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José Mujica, Former President Of Uruguay: What Makes Us Human?

José Mujica, nicknamed Pepe Mujica, is one of the most interesting presidents in recent memory. He was President of Uruguay from 2010 to 2015.

He was a former urban guerrilla fighter with the Tupamaros in the 1960s and the 70s, a group inspired by the Cuban Revolution. In total Mujica was captured by the authorities on four occasions. He was among the more than 100 Tupamaros who escaped Punta Carretas Prison in September 1971 by digging a tunnel from inside the prison that opened up at the living room of a nearby home. Mujica was re-captured less than a month after escaping, but escaped Punta Carretas once more in April 1972. On that occasion he and about a dozen other escapees fled riding improvised wheeled planks down the tunnel dug by Tupamaros from outside the prison. He was imprisoned by the military dictatorship between 1973 and 1985, held in harsh, squalid conditions. In 1985, when constitutional democracy was restored, Mujica was freed under an amnesty law that covered political and related military crimes committed since 1962.

Several years after the restoration of democracy, Mujica and many Tupamaros joined other left-wing organizations to create the Movement of Popular Participation, a political party that was accepted within the Broad Front coalition.  As a member of the Broad Front coalition of left-wing parties, Mujica served as the Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries from 2005 to 2008 and a Senator afterwards. As the candidate of the Broad Front, he won the 2009 presidential election and took office as President on 1 March 2010.

Mujica was seen as an “anti-politician” who “spoke the language of the people.”

He has been described as “the world’s ‘humblest’ president” due to his austere lifestyle and his donation of around 90 percent of his $12,000 monthly salary to charities that benefit poor people and small entrepreneurs. This video describes his philosophy of life. In it he advocates a philosophy of life focused on sobriety: learn to live with what is necessary and fairest.

Source for much of this information Wikipedia.

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