José Mujica – A Different Kind Of President

José Mujica is the president of Uruguay. An old, modest man, and a dreamer. He does not have much, since, he declares, he does not need much. He lives in a farm with his wife, just outside the capital of the country Montevideo. He has a tractor, a three leg dog, and he donates 90% of what he makes to charity.
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José Mujica is a social-democrat. In his youth, he was part of the guerrillas of 1965 and 1966 as a liberator of the Tupamaros National Liberation Movement (MLN-T). In the context of 1973, where the country was ruled by a false democracy that had turned into a military dicatorship, José Mujica, who was on the rebels side, got shot six times and spent 15 years of his life in prision, most of the time in isolation.
He came to power as president of Uruguay on October 29, 2009, winning with a percentage of more than 52% of the votes, defeating his opponent Luis Alberto Lacalle. He has been dubbed by the international press as “the poorest president in the world”. “I’m not poor” Mujica says, “poor are those who always want more and more, those who never have enough of anything. I chose this hostile lifestyle. I chose not to have many material belongings, so I have time to do what I like. ”

Another reason for which Mujica became internationally famous is his proposal to legalize marijuana in his country. Mujica proposed this in order to “end the illegal trafficking of this drug, and thus curb crime.” However, this proposal was halted due to the lack of support from Uruguayan people since, according Mujica “society is not mature yet to accept this proposal.”

He has been said to be “the best president in the world.” His speeches are motivational yet sort of utopian. It is important to take into consideration his lifestyle, unlike other presidents in the world, who need a large deployment of security wherever they go, and who aim to become ridiculously rich as soon as they get to the presidency. However, a president is competent or not depending on his actions, not his lifestyle, whether modest or extravagant. Of course, this criteria is applied to presidents all around the world – which demonstrates that a president is not better or worse depending on his wealth, as even the richest ones are worse presidents and more cynical than Jose Mujica.

This man is no ordinary president, and he shows it by breaking the established patterns of how a president should be by, for example, driving a blue beetle car to work every day, and talking about happiness and free time at the United Nations, and telling them that they are no use, that “our world needs less global organizations of all kinds, which organize conferences and forums that only hotel chains and airlines make use of”.
And as an example of how international organizations reflect the interests of those who created them, Uruguay contributes with the peace missions with 14% of its military forces, that is barely 2500 soldiers. Nothing compared to the 33 thousand troops that the U.S. sent to Japan, but a lot if we consider the size of Uruguay. “We have been there for years, we are always in the places assigned to us, however, where the decisions are made and the resources are distributed we don’t exist even to serve the coffee.” replied Mujica in front of an -almost- empty room, where hours before people flocked to witness how President Barack Obama declared the absence or death of U.S. imperialism. Nevertheless, there was enough space in the press for Mujica’s “philosophical” speech.

Ironically, during my research about this subject, I came across this video called: Talk to Al Jazeera – Jose Mujica: ‘I earn more than I need’ but I could not watch it because it has been blocked in the United States.

José Mujica – Un presidente distinto

José Mujica es el presidente de Uruguay. Un hombre mayor, modesto y soñador. No tiene mucho, ya que según él no lo necesita, y es su elección. Vive con su esposa en un granja a las afueras de la capital Montevideo. Tiene un tractor, una perra coja, y dona el 90% de su sueldo a obras benéficas.
Foto: http://www.presidencia.gub.uy/
Mujica es socialdemócrata. En su juventud, formó parte de las guerrillas de 1965 y 1966 como libertador del Movimiento de Liberación Nacional Tupamaros (MLN-T). En el contexto de 1973, donde el país vivía una democracia con aspiraciones golpistas, ya que dicha democracia se tornó en una dictadura militar, José Mujica fue herido de seis tiros y estuvo encarcelado durante 15 años, la mayoría del tiempo en aislamiento.
Llegó al poder como presidente de Uruguay el 29 de Octubre del 2009, con un porcentaje superior al 52% de los votos, derrotando a su oponente Luis Alberto Lacalle. Ha sido calificado por la prensa internacional como “el presidente más pobre del mundo”. “Yo no soy pobre” declara Mujica, “pobres son los que siempre quieren más y más, los que nunca tienen suficiente de nada. Yo escogí este estilo de vida hostil, escogí no tener muchas pertenencias materiales para poder hacer lo que a mí me gusta”.

Otro de los motivos por los cuales saltó a la fama es su propuesta de legalizar la marihuana en su país. Mujica realizó esta propuesta para “acabar con el tráfico ilegal de esta droga, y así frenar la delincuencia”. Sin embargo, esta propuesta fue frenada debido a la falta de apoyo por parte del pueblo ya que según Mujica “la sociedad no esta madura todavía para acoger esta propuesta”.

Hay quienes califican a este hombre como “el mejor presidente del mundo”. Sus discursos son motivacionales pero algo utópicos. Hay que considerar el estilo de vida que lleva este presidente, a diferencia de otros presidentes del mundo, quienes necesitan un gran despliegue de seguridad allá donde van, y no pierden un minuto en enriquecerse de manera desproporcionada en cuanto llegan a la presidencia. Sin embargo, un presidente se vale por sus acciones, no por su estilo de vida, ya sea modesto o derrochador. Por supuesto, este criterio se aplica también a presidentes de todo el mundo -lo cual demuestra que por muy pobre o rico que el presidente sea no le hace mejor en la presidencia ya que incluso los que más se aprovechan de la riqueza presidencial son peores y más cínicos que José Mujica.

Este hombre no es un presidente convencional, y lo demuestra rompiendo con los moldes establecidos, conduciendo un escarabajo azul al trabajo cada día, y plantándose en la tribuna de las naciones unidas para hablar de la felicidad y el tiempo libre, y para decirles que no sirven para mucho que “nuestro mundo precisa menos organismos mundiales de toda laya, que organizan foros y conferencias que sólo sirven a las cadenas hoteleras y a las compañías aéreas”.
Y como ejemplo de que los organismos internacionales reflejan los intereses de quienes los crearon, Uruguay aporta el 14% de sus fuerzas armadas a las misiones de paz, apenas 2500 soldados. Nada comparado con los 33 mil efectivos que Estados Unidos tiene en Japón, pero mucho si consideramos las dimensiones del país sudamericano, “llevamos años y años, siempre estamos en los lugares que nos asignan, sin embargo donde se decide y reparten los recursos no existimos ni para servir el café”, replicaba el Pepe frente a una sala casi vacía, en la que horas antes se agolpaba la gente para ser testigos de cómo el presidente Barack Obama declaraba la inexistencia o la muerte del imperialismo estadounidense. Aún así hubo suficiente espacio en la prensa para el discurso “filosófico” de Mujica. (Santa Cruz, 2013)

También es algo irónico, que durante mi búsqueda de información sobre el presidente Uruguayo encontré este video titulado Talk to Al Jazeera – Jose Mujica: ‘I earn more than I need’ y no pude acceder a él ya que curiosamente está bloqueado en Estados Unidos.

Body Image: A creation of media.

This video called “Media’s Effects on Teen Girl’s Body Image & Self Esteem” talks about the problems usually girls have today with their body image. Nobody seems to be satisfied. If you ask a group of girls if they are satisfied with their body, no more than 15% will raise their hands. We are always trying to get slimmer, look prettier, if we have straight hair, you try to curl it to give it volume, if you have curly hair, you spend 30 minutes in the bathroom every mornig ironing to make it look straight.
What causes this behaviors? Of course, the media. Through the magazines we read the TV shows we watch and commercials we see, we build up this idea in our heads of how the perfect body has to be, how do we have to look and even how do we have to act -to be a perfect woman.

Yes, the media is to blame for this, but type in on Youtube “media’s influence on teenagers” and a million videos pop up about how bad the media is, how evil, how is hurting us and hour kids.. But I ask myself: Is it all medias fault?
It is too easy critizise the media and blame everything on “how media falsely portrays society” and without being hypocritical (since my older post “The Axe Efect – Women Depiction” critizises how media depicts women), I would like to take a stand on favor of the media.

Although I agree with the fact that media influences us, and specially teenagers, who are more vulnerable, we all contribute to this. We are stupid enough to still think that the media way is the correct way, and we believe everything they say. A lot of parents, when their kids are todlers, show them to play with “the right” toys. They buy their little girl a doll for her birthday, and they tell their boy to not play with her because he is too agressive, and he has to take care of his sister. Most of the times parents don’t even realize, they learned when they were young and unconciously teach their kids the same values.
Also, boys are taught from an early age that they have to be the ones to ask out a girl if they like her. And in high school they are the ones who ask girls to prom. What would happen if it was the other way around? Ha ha. That girl would be made fun of for the rest of her high school life. Guys flirt with girls, and girls act like their innocent, girls – in general terms- plan their weddings, not their fiancees. And it is usually because they are taught to like planning it.

Also, everybody LOVES to criticise. We all criticise everything, from politics decisions to that girls outfit today, or how the teacher graded my paper. Why? I don’t know. But it for sure would be very interesting to learn why. There are probably some sociologic studies out there that explain human behavior and why we love to criticise everything we can.

So even though I agree with this video, and I think the media has a huge power over the public – which is very easy to convince – our behavior, our perception of beauty, and the perception parents transmit to their children all comes from the society and from our own personal values. The media is just who spreads it out globally.