9 Images Show Why Jose Mujica Is the President You've Always Wanted
Uruguay's president, Jose Mujica, has become a cult favorite in international politics. In 2008, some thought Obama was cut from a similar cloth as his platform aligned him with everday blue-collar Americas.
But Mujica has taken his popularity a step further, into actual politics. Some like to call the 79-year-old the "poorest president in the world" because he gives 90% of his salary to charity. He doesn't dwell in the supplied presidential palace, but rather lives in a farmhouse. He doesn't drive in a motorcade, but sports an old Volkswagen Beetle. And he's taken significant progressive steps in leading Uruguay like legalizing marijuana and abortion.
Mujica is not a fan of the label the Internet has given him: "I'm not the poorest president. The poorest is the one who needs a lot to live," he said.
He is a former guerrilla who spent 14 years in dungeon-like prisons, and at one point, the police shot him six times. Now he is paving a path for a more open Uruguay.
In 2008, Obama was trying and mostly succeeding to be likable and normal. Now, many are disappointed in him and say he hasn't followed up on his promises of being transparent. As Mujica enacts his controversial policies and lives a lifestyle unparalleled in its humility, Obama's so-called normalcy pales in comparison.
Of course, it's impossible to compare the overall security levels (and governing realities) of the U.S. and Uruguay. Obama lives in the White House, supporting a lifestyle thrust upon him in his role as one of the most powerful politicians in the world. But it's still fun to compare the pictures of the two men living their lives.
Here are nine instances that capture the disparity between the president of Uruguay and the president we hoped Obama might be:
1. Their humble abodes
Here's Mujica in 2009 at the flower farm where he lives on the outskirts of Montevideo. In 2014, Mujica declared $322,883 in wealth.
Of course, it is hard to imagine that a U.S. president could even opt for simpler lodgings, but it's a pretty big difference between the two heads of state.
Here's Obama just hanging out in his humble living space:
2. Their motorcades
Here's Mujica driving his old Volkswagen Beetle on the dirt road that leads to his house.
But Obama prefers his cinematic motorcade. Here's the U.S. president's way of getting around:
Image Credit: AP
3. Their outfits during state meetings
Mujica goes with a little splash of blue and green at his meeting with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at the Presidential Palace in Caracas.
But Obama keeps it formal, shaking hands with Maduro at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia.
4. Their leisure activities
Here's Mujica driving his tractor around on his farm, decked out in a cazh sweater and baseball cap.
Mujica farms during his free time. Obama, on the other hand, likes to play golf with his buds.
5. Their voting routines
Mujica loves his matching sweaters, especially on the day the press follows him to the ballots.
While the Uruguayan president looks like your friendly neighbor, Obama prefers his schmancy suit on Election Day:
6. Their outfits at international meetings
Mujica reminds us you can't go wrong with khakis, especially at the Second Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States in Havana.
Instead of khakis, Obama likes to suit it up at the G7 Summit in Brussels.
7. Their look when conduting business
Here are the incredible sandals Mujica wore while assuming office, back in action in Montevideo in December 2013.
Obama's grey suit during the White House Summit on Working Families in June was pretty classic, though. It's highly unlikely that he would make his way to a meeting in Mujica's casual attire.
Image Credit: AP
8. Their lunch routines
Mujica poses with some fans at El Subte pizzeria, where he stopped to eat with friends in Montevideo.
Obama, on the other hand, prefers his PR opportunities more staged, with a side of oversized burrito.
9. When they're meeting constituents
Mujica poses with the crowd at a "friendly football match" between Uruguay and Slovenia in June.
Obama, though, is all smiles as he reaches over a barricade to greet the waiting crowd.