(This is a non exhaustive list. It will be updated on a regular basis)
The Oriental Republic of Uruguay, home to 3.3 million people, has been in the spotlight lately due to its peculiar president, José “Pepe” Mujica. So I thought I would share some facts that would help you, dear flâneur, to understand why the Uruguayan president may be a cool guy.
– He donates 90% of his salary (U$12,500) to social assistance programs related to housing
– He has proposed to donate the presidential retirement benefits
– His entire wealth is nothing more than a 1987 VW Beetle, worth U$1,945. No bank accounts, no debts nor savings.
– In June, his government unveiled a proposal to legalize and monitor the marijuana market in Uruguay. This initiative will need 60% of the country to support it though.
– At the Rio+20 summit, his speech was truly breathtaking, focusing on human being’s pursuit of happiness. You can watch his intervention here (although the subtitles are not even half as powerful as what he really said). For a translated transcription of his speech, go here.
– According to Monocle Magazine, Mujica is ‘the best leader in the world’, leaving far behind President Obama and François Hollande. Read the article here.
– In the beginning of August, the government sent a bill to the Parliament that would allow the state to grow and sell marijuana. This initiative seeks to reduce crime associated with drug traffic.