President Jose Mujica says he has received a million-dollar offer to buy his blue 1987 Volkswagen Beetle, which has become a symbol of the Uruguayan leader’s austere lifestyle.
The man once nicknamed “the poorest president in the world” told the Uruguayan weekly Busqueda that an Arab sheik offered $1 million for the humble car. When asked about the reported offer at a news conference, Mujica said: “That’s what they said to me, but I didn’t give it any importance.”
In an informal chat, Mexico’s ambassador to Uruguay recently suggested to Mujica that he auction the Beetle in Mexico and predicted he could get 10 four-wheel-drive trucks for it, according to a spokesman for the Mexican Embassy.
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Uruguay is ranked first in Latin America in democracy, peace, lack of corruption, quality of living, e-Government, and equally first in South America when it comes to press freedom, size of the middle class, prosperity and security. Perhaps its government success has something to do with this type of leadership, the president happily driving his VW Beetle to work every day.
On a per capita basis, Uruguay contributes more troops to United Nations peacekeeping missions than any other country. It ranks second in the region on economic freedom, income equality, per capita income and inflows of FDI.
Uruguay is the third best country on the continent in terms of HDI, GDP growth, innovation and infrastructure. It’s regarded as a high income country (top group) by the UN, the only one in Latin America alongside Chile. Uruguay is also the 3rd best ranked in the world in e-Participation. Uruguay is an important global exporter of combed wool, rice, soybeans, frozen beef, malt and milk.