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The Lookout

‘Poorest president’ donates 90% of his salary

The Lookout

How's this as a man of the people: The president of Uruguay, José Mujica, has earned a nickname, "el presidente mas pobre" (translation: "poorest president").

The 77-year-old recently admitted to the Spanish newspaper El Mundo that he donates almost all of his presidential salary, making him the poorest, or, as Univision pointed out, most generous president, in the world.

El presidente explained he receives $12,500 a month but keeps only $1,250. The public servant told the newspaper, "I do fine with that amount; I have to do fine because there are many Uruguayans who live with much less."

He and his wife—a senator who also donates part of her salary—live in a farmhouse in Montevideo. His biggest expense is his Volkswagen Beetle, valued at $1,945.

Perhaps not surprisingly, under the former guerrilla fighter, who was elected in 2010 as a member of the left-wing coalition, the Broad Front, the country has become known for being one of the least corrupt on the continent.

Mujica has no bank accounts and no debt, and he enjoys one thing money can't buy: the companionship of his dog, Manuela.

The Uruguayan is not the first president to donate his salary. U.S. President John F. Kennedy, who came from wealth, donated his salary when in office, as did President Herbert Hoover. Hoover, who grew up poor, decided to never accept money for public service, so he could not be accused of corruption.

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