José Mujica

by Lorenzo Piccoli

I first read about him when I was in Bruxelles. There was a long article about him on the Courrier international – a very good French magazine, by the way. Now José Mujica is on the front page of the New York Times, that describes his lifestile as ‘Franciscan’. He is a former guerrillero Tupamaro who survived many years in prison. In 2010 he was elected president of Uruguay. He reads Seneca as a teacher of wisdom and donates 90% of his presidential salary to the poor. He drives a old Volkswagen Beetle. The cover photo shows him as he prepares to eat alone in his tiny apartment, having rejected the official residence. I personally prefer this one picture.

He is also a vegetarian. His political ideology has evolved over the years from orthodox to pragmatist. In recent times he has expressed a desire for a more flexible political left that can think outside the box.