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Uruguayan President José Mujica is the poorest president in the world, according to the news website Infobae.com: he earns US$12,500 per month and donates 90% of it to charities.
“His only property is his old Volkswaken, and he lives in an humble ranch in the outskirts of the capital,” the website writes. “But there are others who live with less,” Mujica said.
The donated 90% of the presidential salary goes to NGOs involved in social housing and to the Fondo Raúl Sendic, a fund that administrates Mujica’s political movement, the MMP (Movivimento de Participación Popular) and collaborates with many local charities.
A former left-wing guerrillero, Mujica announced last week that he would have included his presidential manor, the Suarez and Reyes House in the Prado neighbourhood of Montevideo, in the list of state shelters for homeless people compiled by the Ministry of Welfare.
If all other help centres fill up over the winter months, homeless people could find themselves under the luxurious roof of the three-floor presidential palace, a building in which Mujica decided not to move into.
“It’s neither a burden or a pose, it is a philosophy that I carried on from in years of privacy,” says the Uruguayan president, who was elected within the leftist Broad Front coalition and claims to be happy with what he has.
He still lives with his wife, Sen. Lucia Topolansky, in his farm on the outskirts of Montevideo, in Rincón del Cerro, as he promised when he was due to be elected president.
For many years he used a simple Vespa scooter to come to Parliament. According to the latest affidavit submitted to the Board of Transparency and Public Ethics, Mujica only owns a 1987 Volkswagen, while the first lady, who also donates part of her salary to charities, owns the farm.