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José Alberto "Pepe" Mujica Cordano
November 11, 2012 2:56 PM   Subscribe

José "Pepe" Mujica had been the President of Uruguay since 2010 and is considered to be the 'World’s poorest president'. "His humble lifestyle is reflected by his choice of an aging Volkswagen Beetle as transport, his only asset. The Economist describes him as "a roly-poly former guerrilla who grows flowers on a small farm and swears by vegetarianism". He also donates 87% of his state salary to charitable causes. He does not believe in God."

Previously José Mujica
posted by growabrain (38 comments total) 49 users marked this as a favorite

 
What's not to love about this man?
posted by orange swan at 3:03 PM on November 11, 2012 [10 favorites]


Good for him, good for Bolivia!

I'm missing a joke here, right?
posted by fifthrider at 3:05 PM on November 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Are we ruling over globalization, or is globalization ruling over us?
posted by growabrain at 3:06 PM on November 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Good for him, good for Bolivia!

Is this a Reagan joke?
posted by ambrosia at 3:06 PM on November 11, 2012


Is this a Reagan joke?

There are brazillans of these jokes.
posted by Forktine at 3:14 PM on November 11, 2012 [20 favorites]


Wait, so did the people of Uruguay knowingly elect an atheist? I find that difficult to believe.
posted by bookman117 at 3:15 PM on November 11, 2012


Wait, so did the people of Uruguay knowingly elect an atheist? I find that difficult to believe
Uruguay is considered the most secular nation in the Americas.
posted by growabrain at 3:18 PM on November 11, 2012 [13 favorites]


A statesman as paragon. Who'd have thunk?
posted by flippant at 3:19 PM on November 11, 2012


Wait, so did the people of Uruguay knowingly elect an atheist? I find that difficult to believe.

Why? Mujica was a left-wing guerilla during the military dictatorship of the 70s and 80s. He spent 14 years in prison as a political prisoner, including 2 years at the bottom of a well. In Argentina, Brazil, Chile & Uruguay the Catholic Church at best turned a blind eye to the human rights abuses, and at worst they actively participated in some of the most awful practices (stealing babies from captured activists in Argentina for example).

Individuals in these countries may have personal faith, but as far as most of them are concerned, those that support Mujica at least, the more religion stays away from politics the better.
posted by jontyjago at 3:22 PM on November 11, 2012 [24 favorites]


Wait, so did the people of Uruguay knowingly elect an atheist? I find that difficult to believe
Uruguay is considered the most secular nation in the Americas.


Chile, which is officially a 'Christian' country, where the church has what amounts to practically a veto in terms of abortion and gay marriage, we elected two declared agnostics, Ricardo Lagos and Michelle Bachelet. Bachelet is also a single mom.
posted by signal at 3:27 PM on November 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


In Argentina, Brazil, Chile & Uruguay the Catholic Church at best turned a blind eye to the human rights abuses

Not true in Chile, at all, where the Vicaría de la Solidaridad was by far the strongest fighter for human rights during the worst years of the dictatorship. FWIW, I'm an atheist, but have respect for what they did.
posted by signal at 3:29 PM on November 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


Sounds like a nice guy. And a socialist to boot.

Good on him.
posted by Jehan at 3:29 PM on November 11, 2012


Uruguay is also leading the world on drug policy reform at the moment. Forget Colorado and Washington; Uruguay is where it's happening.
posted by gingerbeer at 3:31 PM on November 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Not true in Chile, at all

I stand corrected.
posted by jontyjago at 3:31 PM on November 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


According to Mujica,after completing duration of presidency,he want to passed his reaming life with his wife in his farm house.

Reaming your wife in a farmhouse is the best part of retirement.
posted by Devils Slide at 3:32 PM on November 11, 2012 [44 favorites]


for some reason, Reaming your wife in a farmhouse is the best part of retirement is the funniest line I read in weeks
posted by growabrain at 3:38 PM on November 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


jontyjago: ... the more religion stays away from politics the better.

What a bizarre premise on which to base governmental policy.
YES I'm kidding!!
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:22 PM on November 11, 2012


That line is making me giggle uncontrollably too.

Many props to Pres Mujica. I didn't think people like him actually existed. Were someone like him to appear in a novel, I'd be sitting there thinking, "Gee, Author, fantasize about what your ideal government would look like much?"

Not to mention Uruguay having a sensible drug policy instead of the "More prisoners for the Prison God!" approach we take here in the USA.
posted by lord_wolf at 4:28 PM on November 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


Wait, so did the people of Uruguay knowingly elect an atheist?

The guy spent two years in a well for their sins. 'Til the Man himself comes back you aren't going to do much better than that.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:28 PM on November 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


"I killed the President of Paraguay with a fork, how have you been?"
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:54 PM on November 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Awesome. It reminds me a bit of Thomas Sankara.

You can watch an excellent documentary about him, An Upright Man, on Youtube.
posted by symbioid at 5:22 PM on November 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


In unrelated news, in St. John's Parish in affluent McLean, VA (not long after the promotion of pastor Paul Scalia), today's gospel was Mark 12:41-44, in which Jesus tells his disciples that the poor widow who donated two pennies to the common treasury, had sacrificed more than any of the rich people making large donations.

Traditionally, the homily would expand upon the larger spiritual and doctrinal implications of the day's gospel.

Instead, they asked for money. The presiding priest explained how he understands that people have to be cautious about their budgets, given the election and the resulting, inevitable expansion of the federal government. He made it clear, however, that Holy Mother Church will endure significant legal costs due to the lawsuits they'll now be forced to pursue.

In closing, he added that they must protect the interests of private business owners.

I wish. I. Was. Fucking. Kidding.

The atheist president of Uruguay has, as his only asset, an aging Volkswagen Beetle undoubtedly worth less than the (flamboyant and ornate) central crucifix of St. John's parish in McLean, VA.
posted by Riki tiki at 5:53 PM on November 11, 2012 [22 favorites]


He and Mitt should do lunch some time...
posted by jim in austin at 6:06 PM on November 11, 2012


In Argentina, Brazil, Chile & Uruguay the Catholic Church at best turned a blind eye to the human rights abuses, and at worst they actively participated in some of the most awful practices (stealing babies from captured activists in Argentina for example).

Yeah, they did the same fucking thing in Franco's Spain, which suggests that it was not a localized phenomenon but something the hierarchy of the Catholic Church ordered. Unless somebody would like to argue that the Spanish translation of the Bible has unique passages ordering the theft of children from antifascists.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:17 PM on November 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Awesome. It reminds me a bit of Thomas Sankara.

You can watch an excellent documentary about him, An Upright Man, on Youtube.


I want to make extra sure people see this. Thomas Sankara was an amazing person and it's incredibly shameful that his story isn't better-known in the West.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:18 PM on November 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


Sounds like a wonderful man.
posted by nzero at 6:31 PM on November 11, 2012


Huh! Dude sounds like he'd be right at home with his hand out in a welfare line. THAT'S not a politician. Let me introduce you to a real politician. Meet Mitt. He doesn't drive no stinkin' VW!

Serious props to Pepe.
posted by BlueHorse at 6:33 PM on November 11, 2012


The Catholic Church at best turned a blind eye to the human rights abuses, and at worst they actively participated in some of the most awful practices

Should be on their stationery

┌──────────────────────────────┐ └──────────────────────────────┘
posted by mattoxic at 9:48 PM on November 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


I want to make extra sure people see this. Thomas Sankara was an amazing person and it's incredibly shameful that his story isn't better-known in the West.


Thank you. You just helped to change that.
posted by Mike Mongo at 5:39 AM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


"In Argentina, Brazil, Chile & Uruguay the Catholic Church at best turned a blind eye to the human rights abuses"

This list is not only actively wrong, it is also awfully selective. At least in the last 30 years the Catholic Church has in fact been a central part of the global transition to democracy in Latin America, and unlike the US or Chavez, pretty much the only major holder of real political influence to be consistently on the side of the poor and genuine democratic reform.
posted by Blasdelb at 5:52 AM on November 12, 2012


In Argentina, Brazil, Chile & Uruguay the Catholic Church at best turned a blind eye to the human rights abuses

Yeah, that's not a general truth. While part of the Catholic Church did turn a blind eye, there were many many nuns and priests actively fighting the Latin American dictatorships of the 20th Century and its abuses, including a few high-up on the hierarchy. Check Liberation Theology and Christian base communities. In Brazil, the Church is much more conservative now, but many priests and nuns were arrested and even tortured and murdered by the regime either because of their social work or because they were actively helping the guerrilla movement. (I was not raised Catholic and am an atheist)
posted by TheGoodBlood at 6:02 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that's not a general truth.

But it will certainly get the most favorites.
posted by lstanley at 7:56 AM on November 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


At least in the last 30 years the Catholic Church has in fact been a central part of the global transition to democracy in Latin America,
True, but as the extrapolation goes... 8,748,438 wrongs do not make 4,374,219 rights.

(i.e. your premise is based on the concept that democracy is the only valid form of government that benefits the people. I find that concept tragically flawed. Democracy, especially the type that we have here in the US, is impossibly expensive to set up and maintain, and that's a meirda-kilo of money that not every country has. )
posted by Blue_Villain at 8:03 AM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


As I mentioned in a previous comment in another thread, my dad was an American Catholic priest doing missionary work in various countries in South America (mostly Chile, Peru and Brazil) from the late 60s to the late 70s.

During this time, my dad was in Chile to see Pinochet assume control. As a bit of background, I'll post this link that describes CIA operations in Chile during the 60s and 70s. I post this because of a small part of it reads as follows:

"In the days and months immediately following the 1973 coup, the CIA provided extensive reporting on what the government characterized as activities necessary to restore order. There were widely varying reports on the numbers of persons killed and arrested. CIA reporting confirmed that the military was deliberately not disclosing accurate figures and detailed the differing opinions within the military Junta regarding whether to summarily execute extremists and subversives or allow them trials and sentencing. There was also extensive reporting on:

-- Application of “military justice” to civilian detainees and the types of punishment they were likely to face;
-- Prison camp locations and the names of specific persons being held in them, including the fact that some of these locations were secret;
-- Efforts of leftists to flee the country or gain asylum in foreign embassies; and
-- Assessments of the effect government repression was having on the left’s capabilities and efforts to regroup."


How did the CIA know about extensive efforts of leftist to flee the country? Because a CIA operative asked my dad to help smuggle out leftist political leaders who weren't yet rounded up. In the mid-70s, he was able to get about 40 people out of Chile. Pinochet was a horrible mother-fucker, but having a Roman collar meant that you could get away with a lot of things in South America during that time (some bad, some good... and my dad was keenly aware of both). My dad used his Roman collar for good, because as my dad is fond of saying: "fuck Pinochet".
posted by Groundhog Week at 9:26 AM on November 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


"True, but as the extrapolation goes... 8,748,438 wrongs do not make 4,374,219 rights.

(i.e. your premise is based on the concept that democracy is the only valid form of government that benefits the people. I find that concept tragically flawed. Democracy, especially the type that we have here in the US, is impossibly expensive to set up and maintain, and that's a meirda-kilo of money that not every country has. )
"
And neither un kilo de mierda nor pulling numbers out of your ass makes a coherent point. Are you really so anti-clerical that - now that you've discovered the Catholic Church has done a lot of amazing work promoting democracy, peace, and social justice - you're suddenly pro-fascist? Democracy in no way requires significant amounts of money, all it needs is volunteers, legitimacy, and solid institutions to flourish. None of this is easy, but none of it is either inaccessible to or in any way inappropriate for impoverished nations. The reason why we don't really see poor nations with solid institutions is that they don't stay poor for long, thats a good thing.
posted by Blasdelb at 9:55 AM on November 12, 2012


Are you really so anti-clerical that
Sorry, I stopped reading at this point. The actions of the church should speak for themselves.

Being objective enough to see them is something else entirely.
posted by Blue_Villain at 10:08 AM on November 12, 2012


The Pope came down extremely hard against Liberation Theology. There were many heroic political efforts by nuns and priests in Latin America (after every other form of political organization had been tortured away), but the hierarchy was with the dictators.
posted by moorooka at 1:16 PM on November 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Blue_Villain, in your first sentence you say you didn't read her argument and in the third sentence you accuse her of not being objective? And yeah, democracy does not require a tonne of money - certainly not $2.5bn.
posted by ersatz at 1:20 PM on November 12, 2012


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