Are All World Leaders Well Paid?

People go into politics for a variety of reasons, from wanting to change the world to wanting to become rich and famous. And then there's former Uruguayan President José Mujica, who wanted to change the world but seemed to care very little about fame and fortune. Mujica's political career began after he decided to fight the dictatorship that had controlled his nation in the 1970s and 1980s. Mujica was jailed as a guerrilla fighter for 14 years, but after his release, he began working to make things better, first as a senator and then as Uruguay's 40th president, from 2010 to 2015. Mujica realized that change begins at home, so he donated 90 percent of his $12,000 USD (£8,645 GBP) per month salary to the needy. He also rejected an affluent lifestyle, forgoing presidential accommodation for a small, modest home, and eschewing classy cars for a 1987 Volkswagen Beetle. He also kept his clothing simple and cheap. In his five years as Uruguay's leader, Mujica tried to lessen the divide between the haves and have-nots by being one of the latter himself.

Let's go to Uruguay:

  • Uruguay is the second-smallest country in South America, but it boasts the world's longest national anthem.

  • Uruguay was one of the first countries to provide every schoolchild with a free laptop, under a program that began in 2009.

  • Uruguay generates around 95% of its electricity from renewable sources.

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