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Meet the “Poorest President” in the World – Uruguayan President José Mujica Drives a Volkswagen Beetle & Donates 90% of his Salary to Charity

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While our Nigerian leaders are being berated for refusing to declare their assets publicly and demanding astronomical pay rise to add to the already exorbitant allowances they receive, the President of Uruguay, José Mujica is getting world wide recognition and respect for donating 90 percent of his earnings to charitable causes.

He has earned what most people would call an enviable reputation as the “poorest,” or the “most generous,” president in the world. His nickname, “el presidente mas pobre” translates to “poorest president”.

The President said in a recent interview that the only big item he owns is his Volkswagen Beetle car, valued at $1,945 dollars (about N308,283) . He earns a salary of $12,500 a month (N1,981,250), but only keeps $1,250(N198,125) for himself, donating the rest to charity.

He lives in a farmhouse which is under his wife’s name,  Lucía Topolansky, a Senator, who also donates part of her salary.

The 77 year-old who has been Uruguay’s president since March 1, 2010 told El Mundo, “I do fine with that amount; I have to do fine because there are many Uruguayans who live with much less.”

It was also reported that under his stewardship, Uruguay has become known for low levels of corruption. The South American country ranks as the second least corrupt country in Latin America in Transparency International’s global corruption index.

Yahoo News reported that the President has no bank accounts,  no debts, and he enjoys the companionship of his dog, Manuela. When his term is over, the President hopes to rest even more peacefully in his farmhouse, along with his wife and his inseparable dog.

There is something about leading by example. When you do, it becomes easier for other people to follow.

Adeola Adeyemo is a graduate of Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from University of Lagos. However, her passion is writing and she worked as a reporter with NEXT Newspaper. She believes that anything can be written about; anything can be a story depending on the angle it is seen from and the writer's imagination. When she is not writing news or feature articles, she slips into her fantasies and creates interesting fiction pieces. She blogs at www.deolascope.blogspot.com

103 Comments

  1. jen

    September 27, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Wow,nice

  2. B

    September 27, 2012 at 9:37 am

    Bless his heart!

  3. Anoni

    September 27, 2012 at 9:42 am

    I am in awe of his generosity and selfless nature. I pray we can all emulate such selflessness in our daily lives. Don’t wait to be in a place of authority, start now to affect lives around you.

  4. shay shay

    September 27, 2012 at 9:44 am

    WOW… I have goose-bumps.

  5. doyin

    September 27, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Wow speechless…… as in lobatan……abegi i need visa out of this corrupt nation

  6. doyin

    September 27, 2012 at 9:44 am

    wow wow

  7. Sey

    September 27, 2012 at 9:48 am

    No he is not the Poorest President but the richest President in the World. Why richies when u can’t enjoy them, like what we have in nigeria, if you think all these politicians and the rest of them are enjoying their stolen monies it a big lie when u get to know them one-on-one u find out they are suffering on the inside. for me President Jose Mujica is the richest president because he is Satisfy with what he has.

    • Purpleicious Babe

      September 27, 2012 at 11:02 am

      Thank YOU O JARE…

      although it made me chuckle so cute and humble in his little sweet beetle.
      In addition, he is rich cos he HAS NO DEBTS… that is massive in this generation..

      I love and appreciate people that are always content not living above their means but content and generous not GREEDY. But in NIAJA, 40 CARS for one person is called life.. what utter nonsense…. I dont know why the average person would need more than one car expect for exceptions (incase one happens to breakdown). But anything more is causing more environmental havoc. I wonder if we have policies and strict driving body in Nigeria.. (random rant).

      People we should emulate HIM….this a man after JESUS.

      http://lifeinstagesdoz.blogspot.co.uk/

    • Gabriel

      September 29, 2012 at 1:25 pm

      yea purpleicious babe, its astonishing that we are clue less and lawless !

    • Cesc

      September 27, 2012 at 3:14 pm

      i completely agree

    • Grant

      October 14, 2012 at 11:30 am

      I wish we have somebody like this in Nigeria.

    • flexi

      May 19, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      God Bless Him. The culture is our major problem in Nigeria, a culture that encourages and pampers pretense. Tell me the truth,all of you, as a Nigerian, if your father is living this kinda life, would you be happy? what would be the reactions of his “village people” How would he have gotten to the position of a President in Nigeria in the first place without money? My dear, Nigerians believe too much in money, thereby idolizing it, and that’s why we are in this mess.
      Be sincere with yourself, as a Nigerian, can you do what the Uruguayian President is doing? Think deeply before you open your mouth wide and pretend like you are a saint

  8. N

    September 27, 2012 at 9:51 am

    wow….God bless his heart n make him an example to all……money cant buy peace n this is the peaceful path he has chosen…his life is a blessing

  9. tito

    September 27, 2012 at 9:52 am

    WOW…… IMPRESSIVE! I HOPE WE GET THERE SOMEDAY IN NIGERIA

    • ture

      September 27, 2012 at 2:30 pm

      By then, the world would have ended.

  10. Mii

    September 27, 2012 at 9:53 am

    OMG!!! dis is amazing… a heart of gold,very touching…our leaders shld emulate these kind of pple!!!

    • Hanngu Richard

      September 29, 2012 at 11:45 am

      It is very wonderful 2 hear and see dat,de president is driving a beetle in dis world.he humble himself jst like christ jesus.leaders should emulate him.

  11. Lue

    September 27, 2012 at 10:01 am

  12. nickyminaj

    September 27, 2012 at 10:07 am

    wow am so inspired. I hope our law makers gets to read this

  13. birdieblue22

    September 27, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Why will anyone want to be corrupt in Uruguay when the president is obviously living a clean and satisfied life. Its greed that drives corruption, crime and other intolerable acts not just in Nigeria but the world. May God bless him abundantly for his good acts and may his children live by his example that his blessings follow them for generations to come in Jesus name! Amen!!

    • Damola

      September 27, 2012 at 10:17 am

      Don’t have kids, don’t believe in God!

  14. Cool cat

    September 27, 2012 at 10:25 am

    @birdieblue22, you are absolutely right. The way we hear politicians calling billions like coins, armed robbers have gotten more daring, new appointees want to embezzle all the money before they even think of work that needs to be done. It’s so sad. If we get a leader with a quarter of this men’s values, imagine how far we will go!

  15. MsSexy

    September 27, 2012 at 10:33 am

    This is guy is sure rich in mind and in abundance.
    Nigerian leaders suffer from poverty of d mind
    Even when satisfied they stl want more, useless Oliver twists
    They shd take a cue from this man
    A la finito

  16. ucylo

    September 27, 2012 at 10:37 am

    “Life is more than what we see”……..that president has understood this saying, i would love to have even if it’s just 10 minutes talking with him

  17. i no send

    September 27, 2012 at 10:48 am

    i don’t think driving a beetle is safe for him ..but i suppose to each his own…

  18. Nkelly

    September 27, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Is this man really a president? Am touched beyond words, can this EVER happen in Nigeria? People move up and down in sirens and yet the poor expands everyday. God help us all

  19. saphyah

    September 27, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Contentment….

  20. simdamsel

    September 27, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Lobatan!!!!!!!!! Dats leadership by example ,not here dat all of dis politician want to own d country and its revenue to themselves. God is watching. But dey should always remember we came to dis world wit NOTHING and we will leave just d same way we came . Dey should always remeber being there is just a previledge and always consider d masses. God bles d Urugua President!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. barb

    September 27, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Truly THE RICHEST PRESIDENT… riches is not by wealth but by how many lives u have touched while on earth…God bless your heart Mr. President.

  22. bukky

    September 27, 2012 at 11:27 am

    God bless his heart…..theres a place in heaven for people like this

  23. Odior

    September 27, 2012 at 11:32 am

    @ Sey thats so true….he is sure the richest cos he will never lack anything he needs……not the politicians here gathering money for their children to scatter…..

  24. adenike

    September 27, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Wow!!! He’s an in inspiration. I’m sure a lot of politicians down here and other countries will look at him and ‘yimu’. May God continue to bless him.

  25. X factor

    September 27, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Behold the wealthiest president….

  26. Mii

    September 27, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    @adenike, lol @ ‘look at him nd yimu’ , really true…we shld knw dat everythin we acquire on earth is vanity…may God bless him eternally…

  27. nems

    September 27, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    Truly inspirational. God please give us leaders that are not out to build their wealth.
    http://www.Anemistyle.blogspot.com

  28. BEE

    September 27, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    I wish some of us have his kinda of heart, he so generous

  29. Bay

    September 27, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Awwww so Touching..He’s nt poor Buh Rich cox He owes nobody

  30. chinco

    September 27, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    We need leaders like this

  31. zionbabe says...

    September 27, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    short of words’ Godbls you jare!!! u’re indeed a role model. long live mr president

  32. Na wa o!

    September 27, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    May God richly bless President Jose Mujica. This is a president after my own heart not like Nigerian and African presidents who grow fat looting the public coffers while the masses they lead die in abject poverty.

  33. pretty

    September 27, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    how many of todays presidents ca do dis,living by examle and others will follow ure steps.#lobatan#

  34. Chattyzee

    September 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Now this is what leadership is all about. Giving, not taking.
    http://dprodigalchild.wordpress.com/

  35. Lizzy

    September 27, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    I love this man. His reward awaits him in HEAVEN

  36. funmi

    September 27, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    A good man with a good heart

  37. dscrazychic

    September 27, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Abeg abeg , WETIN?!!! Yes God bless his kind heart. but i would hate to be his daughter. pulllleeeeze, u people should move to uruguay naa. as if u cld be like him. I love money and money loves me. no beetle car abegzz.

  38. Adeola

    September 27, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Well God shall judge all

  39. wow

    September 27, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    woooowwwwwww

  40. diogo

    September 27, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    This is great….God give be the grace!

  41. Concerned Native

    September 27, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    this is great news, if only nigerian leaders can take their salary only and nothing more nigeria would be so much better. P.S. Bella naija i hope you get someone to gather info and do an article on the bakassi problem, because former lawyer for the federal government have verified that there are a lot of skeletons in the ceding deal that was not made known.

  42. Ampazih

    September 27, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Oh my goodness that”s great. God bless you and your family papa.

  43. brandigest

    September 27, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Cloud of tears gathered in my eyes as I read this. Please he is not poor. Poverty is measured in so many ways, alas we measure based on material aggrandizement but the truth is that wealth is all about how many lives you have affected. Believe me this man’s honor worths million dollars more than all the so called Wealthy politicians. President, you have a place in my heart. In m heart you have fellow occupant like Mandela, Ghandi, Mother Teresa, Awolowo
    http://brandigest.wordpress.com/2012/09/27/stepping-into-the-shoes-of-the-consumers/

  44. Sexxie

    September 27, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Super awesome! I only wish he believed in God…

    • Berna

      September 27, 2012 at 7:38 pm

      There you go judging. You believe in God but call yourself
      Sexxie? Where does it state in the article that he doesn’t believe in God? Most South Americans go to church and believe in God more than Nigerians. Please learn a lesson or two from the article and stop being negative.

    • vinotemia

      September 27, 2012 at 11:46 pm

      I love you for this comment…dont mind funny people…how else cn u explin belief in God? Someone gives wy 90% of his slry nd u still think you re better dn him? bcos u go to church?

    • Sexxie

      September 28, 2012 at 7:42 am

      @ Berna & vinotemia, kai! u r both beyond myopic! Who is judging here? I only expressed my wish based on further reading, Google is always ur friend u know. And by d way, Sexxie is an alias.

    • Ginika

      September 28, 2012 at 2:19 pm

      The chick (or dude, or person) said “wish”, “wish” for crying out loud!!!!! So somebody cannot wish again?! So if I said I wish that I could meet Lebron James, shey you’ll go ahead and saay I am being judgemental; wish as in expressing HER (or maybe his) desire

  45. lilly

    September 27, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    WOW!!! May God continue to bless him and his family. He’s my role model.

  46. Richard

    September 27, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Interesting…I am sure this guy was like this before he became the president. He didn’t suddenly change as soon as they elected him to rule. If you really love his life style then you can do the same. Altruism does not only apply to leaders. You don’t have to be a leader or the president to emulate the dude.

  47. jennietobbie

    September 27, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    wow…hope!

  48. konnie

    September 27, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Bless him Lord

  49. Essome

    September 27, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    Indeed going throw the this makes me believe there are still saints on earth. Mr Pressy God will wonderfully reward you

  50. vinotemia

    September 27, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    If you are touched and want to be like him, there is an opportunity for that in Naija…its not all about just praising him…can we do as he does?…can we donate part of our salary to help those in need? If you are truly touched reach out to this website and do the much you can…Its not my NGO, I am just doing my part to broadcast…http://www.cpcenter.com.ng/

  51. Enoswag

    September 28, 2012 at 12:22 am

    That’s life…life is fun when we think like this honourable man,he’s an epitome of love,my hero.the richest man on earth.God bless you.

  52. NNENNE

    September 28, 2012 at 1:08 am

    Lets talk about ourselves as we talk about our leaders. The guy is able to achieve this because people are not coming to him for fund raising, launching, marriage and perhaps tons of children plus concubines. Our society put so much pressure on our leaders too.

    • Jerick

      September 30, 2012 at 10:42 am

      Exactly!!! we this kind of Leader in the Philippines…so much….

    • Jerick

      September 30, 2012 at 10:54 am

      Exactly!!! we need this kind of Leader in the Philippines…so much….

  53. ESTRANEO

    September 28, 2012 at 4:47 am

    due to this news, OLUSEGUN OBASANJO has vowed to donate 70% of his properties to charitable causes if only Nigerians will re-elect him again so he can right all his wrong doings.

  54. HRS

    September 28, 2012 at 7:54 am

    Imagine This! Great guy! and our own president is using N1billion to eat in a year….mtcheeeeeew! This guy will most def live in peace, no be say he go dey run from EFCC after he lives govt!

  55. new bride

    September 28, 2012 at 9:11 am

    This applies not only to politicians. I wish our church leaders will also emulate this man, as they are equally as guilty. I’m not sure why a church pastor needs a private jet (or 2 sef) and luxury cars with escorts and convoys when they have members of their congregation who are poor and still manage to pay tithes and offerings. The lesson here for me is moderation and contentment.

  56. efe

    September 28, 2012 at 9:41 am

    This is TRUE leadership,which is SERVIVE to the people and not the reverse in Nigeria,where they steal from the citizens to enrich themselves and gather curses for them and their generation.GOD Bless the heart and soul of the Uruguay President,l dole my hat for him.

  57. Greenika

    September 28, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Come to think about it, I dont think there is anyone trying to assasinate him. If our naija leaders should that beetle would have to be bulletproof because that is Naija for you

  58. Destiny

    September 28, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    what these foolish Nigerian politicians do not understand is that the more money they embezzle, the less security and happiness they have. How can you steal so much money and the people around you are starving do you think you will ever have peace of mind? You can hire as many security guards as you like one day even the security man will turn against and kidnap you and your children, you think its only you that likes money abi. They also like to go abroad to spend their ill gotten funds in countries that their own peers built good infrastructures. If i were them everytime I go to another country, i’ll go back to Nigeria in shame. Its like being a teacher and all your students cannot read and write you are either not doing your job or you are really bad at it then what are you rewarding yourself for?

  59. Slim Magic

    September 28, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    excess fat is not easy get rid of. which i want to lose weight by doing doing exercises, yet many people marriage doing exercises, my wife and i enjoy meals a little more. i’ve got a bigger stomach. So i would like something to finally suppress this desire for, i’ve truly prescribed this skill novel edition MSV, It works best for me, the very skin gels discussing me. i have to shed the excess weight far more, then i expand the take to finally 2 skin gels every day, I i am none of annoyed, thus ill carry out having to take 2 pills every day. in actuality exciiting

  60. Onapa ivan

    September 29, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Oh, i wish i was Uruguayan…its hard to come by special leaders.

  61. Twisiwile Mwaighogha

    October 2, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    African Presidents, its a must this should be the qualification for one to be elected a PRESIDENT in poor Africa.

  62. ngonso blessedd

    October 2, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    that’s a very good one, how i wish our leaders will hear this,and ready to emulate

  63. Hadassah

    October 2, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    God bless his soul

  64. Auree

    October 3, 2012 at 9:45 am

    as in? i want to cry. can u just imagine? this man is so content its painful to read about. it even makes me want to review my own priorities….heaven is a sure place for him jare.

  65. Innocent

    October 3, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    How I wish my Poor Malawi had such selfless statesmen

  66. Ishmael Atta Grant

    October 4, 2012 at 7:36 am

    Mine is just a prayer for him. If people are talking like this. It shows God is very happy with him. The wealth that we amass here on earth will not follow in heaven. The only thing that pleases God is the good heart that sympathizes with the less privileged. You loose nothing when you use your wealth to change the lives of others. In fact God protects you from all sorts of problems be it ill health, insecurity etc. Any good thing that we do here on earth, with no doubt, will make enter paradise. Politicians and church leaders think ordinary people are their gold mines. Shame! Rich people get a life!

  67. Tamale Pius Kiggundu

    October 5, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    wow pple like that are rilly had to find,wts up with our poor country uganda,,politicians are stealing every thing,goooooosh even funds for AIDS patients????????

  68. Rydin Baliguat

    October 12, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    In deed, He is the welthiest President in the world… and his rank as the wealtiest might be imposible for other leaders!

  69. wilberforce

    October 13, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    and kenya…..mps gave themselves a gratuity of 200million $ which kenyans dumped as the greatest robbery to have ever happened….imagine a poor country like kenya the president is more paid than america

  70. Sebastine o. Obasuyi

    October 13, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Dats is a man who can say i m a Christian, leader, father, pastor, king i will belive him without thinking twice…Nigeria leader need to learn from him

  71. Kimanig

    October 14, 2012 at 8:11 am

    Why do we forget our very own Thomas Sankara? He was certainly poorer that this president. But as always, Africa Kills Her Sun. Check out this wikipedia link on Sankara to see one of Africas greatest and most illustrious son’s. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Sankara

  72. Peter Mutiso

    October 14, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    African leaders need to learn from this guy

  73. Rahi

    October 18, 2012 at 1:43 am

    Love u sir u r very good for ur nation and ur nation also very good to u
    LOVE FOR ALL HATRED FOR NONE

  74. JAMES OSTEEN GELEPLAY

    October 19, 2012 at 11:43 am

    WHO CAN BE LIKE THIS URUGUAYAN PRESIDENT, JOSE MUJICA, HE DRIVES A VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE AND SHARES 90% OF HIS SALARY TO CHARITY? HOW I WISH TO FIND THAT INDIVIDUAL IN OUR CONTEMPORARY LIBERIAN SOCIETY, BE IT GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL OR PROMINENT WEALTHY LIBERIAN. MAY GOD BLESS PRESIDENT MUJICA.

  75. loc

    October 24, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    he is surely gonna make heaven . God give me this kind of heart

  76. John Okunga

    October 27, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    that’s the best example of a living saint. many presidents/leaders prefer shedding blood, corruption and witchcraft just to make sure they remain in power. may the Almighty God bless him and make the worldly leaders to learn from him

  77. Iretomiwa

    October 29, 2012 at 10:58 am

    He is the greatest president I have ever read about. God bless him.

  78. Noor Muhammad

    November 2, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    When i read about you I try to see your picture daily to remind me the person should be like this, I would like to see you, meet you because bad are too much in this world and good………….. very far from your eyes, if you send me invitation I will arrange all my travelling expenditure.
    Love you
    Noor Muhammad.

  79. ĐURO MARIČIĆ

    November 18, 2012 at 8:19 am

    TAKVOG ČOVJEKA, PREDSJEDNIKA, TREBA SVAKA DRŽAVA. VAPI ZA NJIM!

    Such a man, PRESIDENT, TO EACH COUNTRY. Needed him!

  80. Prince Babajide Akingbade

    November 22, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Whaooooo, truth or not can Nigeria president do such, all they know is fighting on budget for next year Billions of naira…… My God Beetles car lol

  81. DR AHMED HOSNEY PHD

    January 14, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    MR. PRESIDENT
    I WOULD LIKE TO INVEST IN YOUR COUNTRY , PLEASE, EMAIL ME IF YOU INTERESTED, THANKS AN GOD BLESS YOU ,

  82. ewansetin

    January 16, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    400 years coming my country nigeria can never ever be like this, jose mujica there is a place for u in heaven, as they say good things are always rear and expensive in life same thing with jose mojica.

  83. Jeremiah Kazembe

    January 24, 2013 at 10:25 am

    tears welled up in my eyes when I read about this amazing President. God bless him. I wish he was a president in an African Country.

  84. TellULater

    February 27, 2013 at 7:29 am

    Ok for you that think this man is saint you need to inform yourselves. He is a murderer, thief, kidnapper, torturer, liar and so on. He is a Tupamaro which was a radical leftist terrorist group in the 60’s that is responsible for triggering military control of Uruguay that lasted 24 years. He is responsible for kidnapping & giving the order to murder “Dan Mitrione” an American F.B.I Agent in 1970 as well as ordering the murder of police officers & anyone that refused to cooperate with his group. He personaly gave a lethal injection to a rookie Cop because the Cop spotted them having a meeting (The Tupamaros where terrorist) so they murdered him before he could reveal their location…. THIS MAN IS THE BIGGEST CRIMENAL IN URUGUAY!… Most educated Uruguayans fled the country in the 70’s & 80’S which is why such scum could become president. .. Google “Barrio Borro…. Barrio Marconi… or asentamientos” to see what this man has created… Google Tupamaros. There is even a video on youtube of this man bragging about the murders, kidnappings, thefts and so on that he did…. ROT IN HELL MUJICA!!!!

  85. SAINT

    September 14, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    GOD BLESS HIM

  86. Ary

    November 14, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    Hmn! He is inimitable…. to Nigerian leaders.

  87. Jordan

    November 20, 2014 at 8:23 am

    Yeah, 10mins with this man is 10mins with greatness

  88. ADEBOWALE AYOTUNDE

    December 13, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    i love this – wish to be like him

  89. Victoria

    June 1, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    He is one in a million, I wish I could see him one on one

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