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
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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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COMMENTS (83)
  • Eriku2
    11/12/2014 - 08:18 p.m.

    Uruguay's President Jose Majorca owns a old 1987 Volkswagen beetle. Someone offered him 1 million for the vehicle. He is currently making 11,000 a year. I think this is interesting Becca why would Simone want a old beetle i know there is collector but still that's a lot of money

  • John0724-YYCA
    11/12/2014 - 09:25 p.m.

    I do not want to be mean to the president of the Southern American of the Uruguay but that car looks so old fashioned and ugly. I don't think that is my style but if it is his style then I just hope that all the things he own or have looks old and ugly. But it is also very mean and rude to call the president of the Southern American of the Uruguay " the poorest president in the world" because after all he is an president and what if someone called you the poorest person ever living would you like that. If you do I don't mind calling you the poorest person ever living but that would sound like I am a mean person.

  • MaxG-4
    11/12/2014 - 09:32 p.m.

    This article is about the president of Uruguay being offered 1 million dollars for a 2010 Blue Volkswagen Beetle that he owned. He is already known as the poorest president in the world yet he would use all the money to improve his country with heath benefits, campaign efforts, and help the homeless. An ambassador from Mexico suggested that he could get ten four wheel drive trucks, which he would use to help his country yet again.

    I like this article because it is good to see not every government is only out for personal gain. One of the poorest countries has one of the least corrupt leaders yet the richer countries have many more corrupt leaders... hmmmm. Strange.

  • Eugene0808-YYCA
    11/12/2014 - 09:48 p.m.

    This is another story where people buy old things just to possess the old object. I wonder what happened to the president's dog, Manuela. I think Manuela was run over by a car and it had to get its injured leg amputated. I think the president is being more successful in terms of wealth because I think he is getting more money than before. Earlier this year, he had $322,883, which means that he is doing well. Also, is he does get a million dollars from the car, he was going to give it to a program tat builds homes for the homeless, then that would make him a generous person that would be well-known to the homeless.
    Critical thinking challenge: How does the VW represent Jose Mujicas modest lifestyle?
    Answer: The Volkswagen represents Jose Mujica's modest lifestyle because he doesn't show commitment to cars which would probably mean that he does not want to drive because of something that happened in the past.

  • Jason0421-YYCA
    11/12/2014 - 10:15 p.m.

    I think that Jose Mujica deserves to have $1 million dollars because he was planning to use that money to pay for the homeless and a program he supports. I hope that he doesn't regret that he sold his old Beetle to Arab sheik because I think that the old Beetlewas something he cared about. I can tell that he cared for it by how long he had his car for. I think that it was worth selling the Beetle car if I had this car.
    Critical thinking challenge: How does the VW represent Jose Mujicas modest lifestyle?
    Answer: The VW represent Jokes Mujica's lifestyle because they are both old and humble.

  • Bradleyg-bra
    11/13/2014 - 08:34 a.m.

    They Tell About How He Was One Of The Worst Presidents and How Bad Of A President He Was Then They Talk About How He Is Going To Sell His Beatle For 1 Million

  • AugustH-5
    11/13/2014 - 04:07 p.m.

    Presidant Jose Mujica was offerded one million dollars for his 1967 Beetle. The car showed his life as a modest person. An Arab Sheik offered the money for the beetle. The ambassator now wants to auction the car. When he gets the money he wants to donate it for housing for the homeless. He earns around $11,000 by being presidant. His total wealth is $322,883. I think it is nice to donate a large amount of your wealth to a foundation to help people. I think this man cares a lot about other people and not just himself.

  • SeanK-3
    11/13/2014 - 06:29 p.m.

    President Jose Mujica of the South American country of Uruguay received an offer of one-million dollars for his car but did not take the offer. As the president, he makes three hundred twenty-two thousand dollars yearly. The reason he didn't take the offer was his car is very sentimental to him. In my opinion i think that even though a car can be very sentimental to someone, one million dollars is a lot of money therefore i would take the offer that he passed.

  • JackS-4
    11/13/2014 - 08:07 p.m.

    Jose Mujica, the current president of the South American country of Uruguay, has gotten an offer of 1 million dollars for his old Volkswagen Beetle. An Arab Shiek wanted the car, but he shrugged it off. Mexico's ambassador to Uruguay said that in Mexico, he could get 10 four-wheel drive trucks for it. The president said he would gladly auction it, and the profits would go to a program to housing homeless people.

    Generally a president is a very wealthy person, but this is not the case for Jose Mujica. It's great that he leads a humble lifestyle so he can benefit his country.

  • Matthewd-4
    11/13/2014 - 09:10 p.m.

    The Uruguay president got,offered $1million for his old car. This president used to be called the poorest president in the world, now he wouldn't if he sold it. If he sold it he could buy about 10 new cars with the money. Now he is going to auction it to donate money to his charities or by trucks for workers. The president donates 20 percent of his salary, so if he auctions the car that would do a lot to help donate. I think this good that the president will donate his money.

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