Humble leader offered $1 million for his old Beetle Uruguay's President Jose Mujica drives his Volkswagen Beetle on the dirt road that leads to his home on the outskirts of Montevideo, Uruguay (AP photos)
Humble leader offered $1 million for his old Beetle
Lexile

President Jose Mujica of the South American country of Uruguay says he has received a million-dollar offer to buy his blue 1987 Volkswagen Beetle. The car has become a symbol of his modest 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, 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. The ambassador predicted he could get 10 four-wheel-drive trucks in Mexico for it.

Mujica said that if he got $1 million for the car, he would donate the money to a program he supports that gives housing to the homeless. If he got trucks for it, he said, they could go to Uruguay's public health office or his campaign workers.

The president said he would gladly auction the Beetle. He said he has "no commitment to cars." And he joked that he didn't sell it because of his dog Manuela. The canine only has three legs.

Mujica was asked why someone would pay a fortune for his little car. He noted that he keeps a hammer and shovel that belonged to his father. "They are little things to the world, but are worth a lot to you."

Mujica gained renown when he assumed Uruguay's presidency in 2010 and declared that his entire wealth amounted to the 1987 Beetle. The ramshackle farm he lives on was in his wife's name.

Since then, in his official declarations of wealth, he has included the farm and he has been earning about $11,000 a month as president. He donates 20 percent to his political movement. Earlier this year he put his total wealth at $322,883. The flower farm reportedly is worth $108,000.

Critical thinking challenge: How does the VW represent Jose Mujicas modest lifestyle?

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COMMENTS (83)
  • MorganMar-Wil
    11/11/2014 - 11:37 a.m.

    I think that Jose Mujica did good donating that money to a homeless charity. He got a offer for his volkswagen beetle, someone wanted to buy it for 1 million. Why would someone buy this car for 1 million dollars. He bought a farm and he earns 11 thousand a month and pays 20 percent of it to his political movement. I think the beetle represents his life because it is old just like him.

  • Shawnle-Fre
    11/11/2014 - 12:03 p.m.

    I don't think that car should be sold for 1,000,000 dollars. That car is just like every other old car. You wouldn't sell an antique care for 1,000,000 dollars would you? No car should be worth that much money. I do like how he is trying to help the poor communities though.

  • 8NANDISURUPI-Flo
    11/11/2014 - 12:03 p.m.

    I think that Mr. Jose Mujica is a very humble and a very good person. This is very good that he wants to help so many people.

  • 10Kaleb-May
    11/11/2014 - 02:15 p.m.

    I always wonderd why that someone would sell you a bettle that was worth $1,000,000 why wouldnt they just keep it thats what i would do.

  • 15Cyrus-May
    11/11/2014 - 02:17 p.m.

    wow i dont think selling a beetle for 1mil is smart if a car that is worth 1mil u should keep it you would be style u could make people jeolous also but i guess u got 1mil so congrats

  • wyattg-Tho
    11/11/2014 - 03:25 p.m.

    in the passage it said it was a humble car.
    he had to modest if he was the president.
    the car was small but pricey like the president.
    he never said the car was anything big.
    it was like the car was talking through him.
    trying to say hi I here you don't need to pay attention to me
    by him not saying anything to anyone was its way of saying I'm nothing big.

  • LilyE-4
    11/11/2014 - 08:15 p.m.

    President Jose Mujica of Uruguay recently received an offer of $1 million for his blue 1987 Volkswagen Beetle. However, he declined the offer. Mujica was once known as the "poorest president in the world" because of his austere lifestyle. He also donated 90% of his monthly paycheck to charities. This president is like my role model. He is very humble, and he donates a lot of money to charity, although he is the president of Uruguay.

  • julianacua
    11/11/2014 - 10:12 p.m.

    Jose Mujicas modest lifestyle is represented by everything he does, wears and says. The way we lives and acts as President, should be an example for every single head of state all over the world. This is because he understands politics as community service, he woks for people and enjoys doing it that way. Now, that old VW represents everything he is, he is humble, and doens't need luxuries to enjoy life as the rest of presidents. He is happy by serving to his country by not getting huge rewards and distinctions.

  • JosieW-1
    11/11/2014 - 10:59 p.m.

    This article is about the needs of people to understand the past. People have respect for others that are still living their lives like they were living without new cars and new technology. Someone was willing to pay so much money for something so old because they like the idea of living old school. The car is a symbol of a modest lifestyle that people were proud to live through. The proceeds of the car would have gone to a charity that the seller was passionate about. I think this is very cool because people have respect for different lifestyles, even if it's not their own. I think it's a very good thing in the world for people to respect others no matter what.

  • SD2000green
    11/12/2014 - 08:40 a.m.

    I feel like the VW represents Jose's modest lifestyle by it's age and importance. Probably decades back, the VW wasn't a popular or as expensive, but it didn't stop jose from buying it. He was nicknamed the poorest president in the world, and you could probably have used the same words to describe anyone who owned a VW as well. Now today, he is offered a million dollars for this old car, and he is planning to use the money to help build houses for the homeless.

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