Government - World's Poorest President Refuses Pension
Uruguay's former President Jose Mujica - famous for legalizing Marijuana, and refusing a chauffeur-driven limousine as well as life in the presidential palace - now is turning down his government pension.
"Pepe" Mujica famously went from imprisoned Leftist guerilla in his youth to President of Uruguay from 2010 to 2015, during which time he legalized marijuana and gay marriage. He donated most of his salary to charity. That made him wildly popular abroad, as did his eccentricities such as adopting a three-legged dog, wearing sandals and never a suit, living on his flower farm instead of the presidential palace, and driving himself to and from work every day in a beat-up old Volkswagen Beetle from the air-cooled era instead of riding in an air conditioned limo.
Imagine an awesome hippy grandpa in charge of a country; that's Mujica.
Since 2015, he's served in the senate. But this week, the 83-year old announced he wouldn't complete his term which ends in 2020 because of "exhaustion after the long journey". In his letter to the head of the senate - who is also his wife, Lucia Topolansky - Mujica said he wasn't giving politics altogether: "While my mind works, I can't resign from solidarity and the battle of ideas," Pepe wrote.
As for the immediate future, he plans to travel to Europe and attend the Venice Film Festival for the premiere of a movie that chronicles his life, directed by Emir Kusturica. But some in Montevideo believe he's resigning the senate so he can run for President again in 2020.