“Jose Mujica Was Every Liberal’s Dream President. He Was Too Good to Be True,” read the headline of an article on Uruguay’s former President, while another read “Uruguay has the President of Your Dreams.” This is well along the lines of what people from Uruguay and all over the globe feel about him.


“He’s the best president we’ve ever had.” “I’m sorry to see him go.” “If such a person is … a president, then there is hope for humankind.” – these are only a few of the documented things people said and still say about him. Jose Mujica, fondly called Pepe, is a man of more than his words. People love him. They are inspired by him. It seemed like all he wanted was to get rid of inequality and make the country live in harmony.

He is an exceptional man, one that hardly becomes a politician. Where his beliefs stand can be easily understood from a statement he gave: ” All I do is live like the majority of my people, not the minority. I’m living a normal life and Italian, Spanish leaders should also live as their people do. They shouldn’t be aspiring to or copying a rich minority.”

This is a man everyone must know. So, here are a few facts about Jose Mujica, President Of Your Dreams.


1. The 40th President of Uruguay has often been referred to as ‘World’s Humblest President’ and ‘World’s Poorest President’. He served from 2010 to 2015.

2. Before joining politics, he was a guerrilla fighter with Tupamaros, a left-wing urban guerrilla group.

3. As a member of Tupamaros, he led one of the six squads that took over the small town of Pando. His was the only team to complete the task without any hiccup.


4. He was gunned down as he was resisting arrest. Shot six times, he was saved by the surgeon on call at the hospital.

5. He was arrested a total of four times.

6. He along with 99 other Tupamaros fighters once escaped prison by digging a hole from inside the prison to a living room of a house nearby.


7. Mujica was captured shortly again, only to escape yet another time. This time they rode wheel planks along a tunnel dug by Tupamaros from outside.

8. He spent 13 years in total in prison.

9. At one point he was even kept prisoner in a horse-watering trough for more than two years.

Alternate History

10. During his time in prison, he suffered from health and mental issues including auditory hallucinations and forms of paranoia. He never sought punishment for his torturers. In fact, he says that his humility comes from this phase of his life. “I was imprisoned in solitary [confinement] so the day they put me on a sofa I felt comfortable!” said Mujica.

11. After his release, he and Tupamaros joined other left-wing organisations to form the political party, Movement of Popular Participation, part of the ruling left-wing party, Broad Front. In 1999, he was elected as a Senator.

12. In 2005, he married Lucia Topolansky, a Tupamaros member who would later become a senator too.


13. Mujica was Minister of Livestock, Agriculture, and Fisheries from 2005 to 2008.

14. In 2012, his government took the decision to legalize marijuana. He said, “150,000 people smoke [marijuana] here and I couldn’t leave them at the mercy of drugs traffickers. It’s easier to control something if it’s legal and that’s why we’ve done this.”

15. He donated 90 per cent of his salary to charity every month and was left with roughly what is the average wage in Uruguay. “I can live well with what I have” he said.


16. Even during his presidency, he lived in a farm with his three-legged dog. He had two police officers for security. And the President’s garden is said to be nothing more than a patch of dirt.

17. He used to drive a rundown Beetle and is known to have never used a chauffeur-driven limousine. He is also known to have given a ride to hitchhikers.

18. He sees himself as a part of the poorer majority than the richer elite. In the past, he referred to himself as a “humble peasant”.


19. By the time his term was over, Mujica had legalised marijuana and gay marriage, made the economy flourish, raise salaries and brought down unemployment rates drastically.

20. Mujica, who stepped down in March 2015 has opened his humble home to a hundred children orphaned in the Syrian crisis.

People like Mr. Mujica make the world a much better place.