José "Pepe" Mujica

José Mujica was the president of Uruguayfor two terms. Before his political career he was a part of the Tupamaros, a violent who sought to stop tor imprison the corrupt government officials in Uruguayan government.

He joined the Tupamaros when he was 16 and climbed up the ranks in the group. He eventually reached a position where he was leading various "attacks" for the Tupamaros. José says he tried to never get involved in the violence and he did his best to only use his weapon if needed.

In the summer of 1969 José was involved in planning for and acting on a tip that the Tupamaros had received that there was a small bank doing illegal currency deals. The Tupamaros used an officer to gain access to the bank and took about $100,000 and the ledgers to be used as proof of the deals. The ledgers were turned over and the bank was shut down and those involved were imprisoned. Another not so legal thing he was involved in was storming the home of José Púrpura, a corrupt far right judge. When they got in to the home Púrpura's stepson, Mannise, was there and was held at gunpoint while the Tupamaros took documents and a typewriter. Mannise was unharmed and was only upset about them taking his typewriter. The next day Mannise received a call from Mujica and was told he could find the typewriter in the lobby of a near by building.

José was eventually captured after being recognised in a bar by two police officers and being shot six times.

José's political career began in March of 2010 when he was elected president of Uruguay. As president he is able to live in a the large presidential mansion, but he opted to live in his small house with his wife on the edge of the city in the poorer part of the city earning him the title of one of the most humble presidents. While before his run for president he was a notorious member of the Tupamaros his time in prison, most of which was spent in solitary confinement, seems to have changed him for the best.

During his presidency he did some good things such as legalising gay marriage and pushing for equality for gays and legalising abortion up to 12 weeks. He also legalised marijuana saying that he did not want to leave the small percentage of users at the hands of the violent dealers. Although the law was unpopular, with 62% of the people saying they were against it, he pushed it through calling it a trial and saying that it is not the final answer. He has also increased minimum wage, stabilised the economy, and reduced unemployment.

Although José is a good person he is not the greatest president that Uruguay has had. During his presidency two major government funded companies have gone bankrupt: PLUNA, an airline company co-owned by the state, and a state owned gas supplier, ANCAP. Causing air line tickets and gas prices to increase drastically. Some people close to Mujica say that he has great ideas, but they are just too big to be able to work well.

Since Mujica's term is coming to an end he has been asked about his plans for the future. Since he has already served the maximum two terms he is not allowed to run for office again. When asked about this he says that he hopes to make a small agricultural school in one of the barns on his property. He also donates 90% of his pay check to charity. One of the charities he gives to strives to help single mothers who asr stuck in poverty stricken areas by giving them food and shelter.

Mujica may not be the best president, but he he has changed from a member of one of the most violent groups in South America, to a very humble man who hopes to help everyone ha can and one who does not need a lot to prove his worth to himself.

"If you complicate your life too much in the material sense, a big part of your time goes to tending that. That’s why we still live today as we did 40 years ago, in the same neighbourhood, with the same people and the same things. You don’t stop being a common man just because you are president.”- José Mujica

Created By
Ian Marks

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