Humble leader offered $1 million for his old Beetle
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: 970L

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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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  • 21jmborm
    11/12/2014 - 12:12 p.m.

    I think this is crazy! A million dollars give that to me and ill give you my moms mustang! Wow that guy must be rich. A beetle is cool but a cant believe how much this guy is spending for one beetle. At first when it said " Man buys a beetle" i thought the organism for a million bucks!

  • 21djpepi
    11/12/2014 - 12:13 p.m.

    I think it's kind of crazy that you would sell a Beetle for 1 million dollars. I know there are few of them in the world but, really? 1 MILLION!!!!!!!!! Weird to me. If anything, the Lamborghini should be one million dollars. The Beetle is now worth like a cent! Haha! That is my own opinion!

  • Hugh12345678901234567890123456
    11/12/2014 - 12:22 p.m.

    Jose Mujica must be really generous to give lots of money to other people. His car must have been pretty valuable to be offered at a price of 1 million dollars.

  • IamXfactor
    11/12/2014 - 01:33 p.m.

    I think that that price is a little high. Then again I'm not exactly a master of cars. I think that whoever buys that car is very rich.

  • Calebe-OBr
    11/12/2014 - 01:57 p.m.

    If Jose Mujicas wants a million dollars for his car, it must mean a lot to him. I would do the same as him if I got the million dollars. Whoever wanted his Beetle, they had to go to drastic measures to try to make Jose think about it. If

  • Calebe-OBr
    11/12/2014 - 01:58 p.m.

    If Jose Mujicas wants a million dollars for his car, it must mean a lot to him. I would do the same as him if I got the million dollars. Whoever wanted his Beetle, they had to go to drastic measures to try to make Jose think about it. If I were Jose I would take the million right away.

  • FrancoS2211
    11/12/2014 - 03:15 p.m.

    I liked this article because i knew alot about it. Jose Mujica was elected in 2010 and he did a lot of awful things. But never knew he would do this. He put up his old car up for 1 million dollars. And i don't mean a year old i mean really old. it was really surprising

  • GabiD1
    11/12/2014 - 05:10 p.m.

    The president of uruguray got an offer for 1 million dollars for his old rusted beetle. He was considering what he would do with that million dollars. Finally he accepted the money and sold it. I think it is crazy that someone would buy that car for a million dollars.

  • BrandonT-4
    11/12/2014 - 05:49 p.m.

    So a guy got a offer for a million dollars for his car and didn't take the offer. He is president and makes 322 thousand dollars. Also his car is more sentimental to him. I think it is strong not to give him the car for a million dollars.

    I think he should of taken the money bought another one and upgraded it to stuff he liked in his car. I would of gave him my car right away.

  • Hannahmab-3
    11/12/2014 - 07:12 p.m.

    could you imagine receiving an offer of one million dollars for your car? That was was President Jose Mujica of Uruguay was offered for his beetle. Mujica once named the "poorest president in the world" said an Arab sheik did offer him a million dollars for his beat up old car. Mujica also said he was considering auctioning off his car and would donate the money to one of the charities he supports that gives homes to the homeless. It was also suggested to him that if he go to Mexico he could get ten trucks in exchange for his car. Mujica then stated he would give the cars to Uruguay's public health offices or to his campaign workers .Mujica says he would sell his car because he has "no commitment to cars" but keeps it for his dog who only has three legs. Mujica said he keeps the car because like other belonging they seem unimportant but mean the world to us personally.
    It is refreshing to see people with high power roles who are not overly obsessed with themselves and submerged in their own world and what they need. To see a president who drives an old car because he likes it and it works for his dog is amazing. for me it shows the world is snot all bad and there are still people who are down to earth and not stuck-up. This gives hope for humanity.

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