José Mujica

Política = politics

No importa what your own particular “shade” of politica, es imposible not to be impresionado by Jose “Pepe” Mujica.

Políticos = politicians

There are políticos the world over but, when it comes to living by one’s principios, none of them comes anywhere close to the former Uruguayan presidente, José Mujica.

El mundo = the world

Señor Mujica’s beat-up old VW Beetle is probablemente unos de los cars más famosos en el mundo, y decidió also to forgo the luxury of el Palacio Presidenciál.


La escalera = the ladder

No sé = I don’t know

“As soon as politicos start climbing up la escalera, they suddenly become kings. No sé how it works, but lo que sí sé is that republics came al mundo to make sure that no one es más than anyone else.” The pomp of office, he said, is like something left over from a feudal pasado: “You need un palacio, red carpet, muchas personas behind you saying, ‘Sí señor.’ En mi opinión all of that is awful.”

Casa = home

Hombre = man (“ombray”)

When you visita “Pepe” at his tiny, one-storey casa on the outskirts of Montevideo you realize que el hombre is as good as his word.


Amigos = friends

Señor Mujica seats himself down on a simple wooden stool delante de a bookshelf that seems on the verge of collapsing under the weight of biographies and mementos from his political adversaries and amigos.

Trece años = 13 years (“tresay anyos”)

Books are importante to the former guerrilla fighter who spent a total of 13 trece years in jail, two of them lying at the bottom of an old horse trough.

Su pasado = his past

La experiencia de su pasado es probablemente why Señor Pepé Mujica gives away about 90%, noventa porcienta of his salary to charity.

Describe = describes (“descreebay”)

Señor Mujica describe being perplexed by those who question his lifestyle.


Cosas = things

“Este mundo is crazy, loco! People are impresionada by cosas normales and that obsession worries me!”

Una vida = a life

Not afraid to take a swipe at his otros líderes, he adds: “All I do is live like la mayoria of my people, no la minoria. I’m living una vida normal y los líderes en Italia, España should also live as their people do. They shouldn’t be aspiring to or copying a rich minoria.”


Más pobre = poorest (“más pobray”)

He has been dubbed el Presidente más pobre del mundo, but he refutes this.

El más pobre = the poorest

“I’m not el presidente más pobre. El más pobre is the one who mucho to live. Mi estilo de vida es una consecuencia of my wounds. I’m the son of my historia. There have been años when I would have been contento just to have a mattress.”

Un estilo de vida = a lifestyle

Soy presidente = I am a president (“presidentay”)

“I have un estilo de vida that I don’t cambia just because soy presidente. I earn more que necesito, even if no es suficiente for others. Para mi, no es sacrificio, it’s a duty.”


Jose Mujica is outspoken and sometimes brusque, but he can afford to be so.

Más grandes = bigger

Señor Mujica left office with a relatively healthy economia and with social stabilidad those neighbours más grandes, como Argentina y Brasil, could only dream of.

Unos de los politicas más controversiales from his five years, cinco años de Presidente – like the legalisación del aborto y of abortion and canabis – were done for pragmatic reasons.

El amor = love

El hombre = the man (“el ombray”)

“Marijuana is una plaga, another adicción. Some say es bueno, but no, that’s rubbish. No marijuana, tabaco ni alcohol – la única good adicción is el amor!” says el hombre who in 2005 married his long-term partner and former co-revolutionary, Lucia Topolansky.


Es porque = is why (“es porkay”)

“But 150,000 personas smoke marijuana here and I couldn’t leave them at the clemencia of drugs traffickers,” he says. “It’s easier to controlar something if it’s legal and es porqué we’ve done this.”

El jefe = the boss (“el hefay”)

He was also el jefe who oversaw the legalisación de aborto y de same sex marriage. 

Venga = come on

Para nosotros = for us

El mundo = the world

“We applied a very simple principio: reconoce the facts. Aborto is old as el mundo. Gay marriage, ¡por favor! — it’s older que el mundo. We had Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, por favor. To say it’s moderno, venga, it’s older que nosotros. Es una realidad objectivo que existe.  Para nosotros, no legalizarlo would be to tortura people needlessly.”


Señor Mujica is sometimes describido as “el presidente every other country would like to have.”

Ni nada así = nor anything like that

La vida = life

“There’s nothing short-term, no victoria around the corner. I will not achieve paradiso ni nada así. What I want is the fight for the common good to progresar. La vida slips by. The way to prolongarlo is for others to continuar your work.”

Humilde = humble (“oomilday”)

Este líder enigmático remains una inspiración to many, and is a reminder that la política is meant to be una profesión humilde y honorable.

Article adapted from a combination of text from the following sites. 

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