FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION
An article from the website of Pierre Martial, writer and journalist (To share as widely as possible, my friends and friends! Sharing is already acting.)
“The President’s house? It’s over there, at the very end of the dirt road! You see? It is the small shack with a green zinc roof and with chickens in front! “.
In the depths of this poor suburb of Montevideo, at Paso de la Arena, everyone knows José Mujica, affectionately nicknamed, at more than 84 years old, “Pépé Mujica“.
Firstly, because he has lived in this modest 45 square meter farmhouse for over 20 years with his wife Lucia and his disabled dog, on three legs, Manuela.
Then, because he was President of the Republic of Uruguay from 2010 to 2015! And that he never stopped living in this modest house, even when he was the head of the nation!
Pépé Mujica was born into a family of poor peasants,, and he always wanted to stay in the midst of the most disadvantaged. He got involved and campaigned from a young age,precisely to defend the poorest and the oppressed!
So no question of abandoning them, even when he was President, for the gold of the Republic and the Presidential Palace, too luxurious for his taste!
It was at the age of 15, in 1950, that young José, orphaned by a father at 6, began to take action against misery and injustice.
In the 1960s, faced with the rise of paramilitary groups who wanted to take the law into their own hands and take power in his country with forceful attacks, kidnappings and assassinations, José Mujica was one of the founders, along with Raoul Sendic, of the emblematic group of Tupamaros. A kind of “Robin Hood” of Uruguay, the Tupamaros had given themselves the mission of protecting the people and containing the rise of the paramilitaries.
In 1973, when the military dictatorship raged, he was taken “prisoner-hostage” by the junta and was imprisoned in unsustainable conditions.
Tortured every day, put in total isolation, he was detained for more than 10 years, including 2 years at the bottom of a well. He came out in 1985, half crazy, a madness and a terrifying experience of which became, paradoxically, his greatest strength.
“It’s strange, he confides today, but a person sometimes learns more from difficult times than moments of happiness. These dark years were horrible and yet they taught me a lot”
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(Click here for the original French version of this article.)
Where in the world can we find good leadership today?
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A silence, then: “For example, I can no longer hate. Do you know the luxury of not hating?”
As soon as he left prison, the ex-Tuparamo resumed fighting, a more peaceful fight this time but still as tireless and uncompromising.
In 1994, he became a deputy. In 1999, he was elected senator and was re-elected to the same office in 2004. While continuing to work as a farmer.
In 2010, consecrating his life to the service of his people, he was elected President of the Republic.
No more farmhouse and hard agricultural work? And welcome to presidential comfort, official cars, the luxurious Presidential Palace and the very comfortable emoluments of the Republic?
Not at all! Never! Not if you know Pépé Mujica!
The day after his election, he announced – to the chagrin of the Protocol – that it was out of the question for him to live in the Presidential Palace. Too rich for him! He would stay in his little house, full stop! But he reassured the world: the presidential residence would continue to serve, he committed to it. In 2012, for example, during the terrible cold wave that hit the country, he had it registered as a refuge for the homeless!
Second, he refused all official cars that were imposed on him. His Ladybug, blue bought in 1987, was more than enough for him, he said.
And thirdly, he decided to redistribute 90% of his monthly salary as President to charitable organizations, declaring himself well-off to keep the remaining 10%, the equivalent of 900 euros, the average salary in Uruguay.
It was on March 1, 2015 that Pepe Mujica ended his presidential functions. Not that he had had enough! At 80, he is still in great shape! Nothing beats the love of family, friends and dogs to keep you young! But the Constitution of Uruguay only allows one 5-year presidential term.
Pépé Mujica therefore returned, serene and good-natured, to his farmhouse, his flowers and his garden, in the depths of his suburbs and alongside his friends.
Is he satisfied with what he has done, with the example he has been able to set? He rolls his eyes.
“I did what I could … I have dedicated a large part of my life to trying to improve the social condition of the world in which I was born. I had a few disappointments, many injuries, a few years in prison …. Finally, the routine for someone who wants to change the world … “
“Continue to live as long as possible! It is a miracle that I am still alive after all that I have experienced! And then read too, read a lot! I spent more than 10 years in a dungeon including 7 without being able to read. I’m late to catch up! ”
We wish you many more years of life and reading, Pépé Mujica, and we hug you with emotion.
You are for me – for all of us – much more than an example …
You give us hope!
(Thanks to Kiki Chauvin Adams who sent this article to CPNN.)