In 2012, the then President of Uruguay, Pepe Mujica, became internationally famous for a report prepared by the British BBC that dubbed him “the poorest president in the world”.
The text and photographs portrayed the austere life of the former guerrilla fighter who became the president of his country.
Pepe Mujica, president between 2010 and 2015, rose to the rank of celebrity for his lifestyle: he refused to live in the presidential palace and continued to live in a humble house in the rural area of the country’s capital, Montevideo, where he shared his life with his wife Lucia Topolansy.
He did not use presidential guards. Neither servitude. He was moving in an old Volkswagen Sedan. He ate in restaurants and in the market near his house.
And during his work appointments he used to wear sandals and old shirts that contrasted with the fine shoes and brand suits that the other leaders wear.
“I do not disguise myself as president, I am still what I was,” he used to say.
One of the peak moments of Pepe Mujica was a speech he delivered at the United Nations headquarters in September 2013.
His passionate defense of a sober life far from consumerism, earned him the applause of global leaders who praised his vision of what really it is important in life.
Therefore, we have compiled seven sentences that marked that speech.
Recommendations for a simple and satisfying life, from the “world’s poorest president”.
1. “I do not live to collect bills or reverberate memories, I am distressed by the future that I will not see and for which I commit myself. A world with a better humanity is possible.”
2. “We have sacrificed the old immaterial gods, and we occupy the temple with The Market God. He organizes for us the economy, politics, habits, life and even finances us in installments and cards, the appearance of happiness.”
3. “It is civilization against simplicity, against sobriety, against all natural cycles, but the worst: civilization against the freedom that is the time to live human relationships, love, friendship, adventure, solidarity, family.”
4. “We razed the real jungles, and implanted anonymous concrete jungles. We faced sedentary lifestyle with walkers, insomnia with pills, loneliness with electronics, are we happy away from humanity?”
5. “The ecological crisis of the planet is a consequence of the overwhelming triumph of human ambition, but it is also its defeat.”
6. “Every minute two million dollars are spent on military budgets around the world, medical research on the planet barely covers a fifth of military research and development. This process ensures hatred and fanaticism.”
7. “The little man of our time wanders between financiers and the routine tedium of air-conditioned offices. He always dreams of vacations and freedom. He always dreams of concluding the accounts, until one day, the heart stops and goodbye … “