|Birth Day:||May 20, 1935|
|Birth Place:||Montevideo, Uruguay|
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He was a guerrilla leader who was a part of the Tupamaros movement that led the 1969 brief takeover of Pando, a town close to Montevideo.
Mujica was born on 20 May 1935, to Demetrio Mujica, of Spanish Basque ancestry, and Lucy Cordano, a daughter of Italian immigrants. Mujica's father was a small farmer who went bankrupt shortly before his death in 1940, when his son was five. His mother's parents were very poor immigrants from Liguria. Lucy Cordano was born in Carmelo, where her parents had bought 2 hectares (4.9 acres) in Colonia Jose to cultivate vineyards. Between the ages of 13 and 17, Mujica cycled for several clubs in different categories. He was also active in the National Party, where he became close to Enrique Erro.
In the mid-1960s, he joined the newly formed MLN-Tupamaros movement, an armed political group inspired by the Cuban Revolution. He participated in the brief 1969 takeover of Pando, a town close to Montevideo, leading one of six squads assaulting strategic points in the city. Mujica's team was charged with taking over the telephone exchange and was the only one to complete the operation without any mishaps. In March 1970 Mujica was gunned down while resisting arrest at a Montevideo bar; he injured two policemen and was in turn shot six times. The surgeon on call at the hospital saved his life. Tupamaros claimed that the surgeon was secretly Tupamaro and this is why his life was saved. In reality the doctor was simply following ordinary medical ethics. At the time, the president of Uruguay was the controversial Jorge Pacheco Areco, who had suspended certain constitutional guarantees in response to MLN and Communist unrest.
In total Mujica was captured by the authorities on four occasions. He was among the more than 100 Tupamaros who escaped Punta Carretas Prison in September 1971 by digging from inside the prison a tunnel that opened up at the living room of a nearby home. Mujica was re-captured less than a month after escaping, but escaped Punta Carretas once more in April 1972. On that occasion he and about a dozen other escapees fled riding improvised wheeled planks down the tunnel dug by Tupamaros from outside the prison. He was re-apprehended for the last time in 1972, unable to resist arrest. In the months that followed, the country underwent the military coup in 1973. In the meantime, Mujica and eight other Tupamaros were especially chosen to remain under military custody and in squalid conditions. In all, he spent 13 years in captivity. During the 1970s and 1980s, this included being confined to the bottom of an old, emptied horse-watering trough for more than two years. During his time in prison, Mujica suffered a number of health crises, particularly mental issues. Although his two closest cellmates, Eleuterio Fernández Huidobro and Mauricio Rosencof, often managed to communicate with each other, they rarely managed to bring Mujica into the conversation. According to Mujica himself, at the time he was suffering from auditory hallucinations and related forms of paranoia.
In 1985, when constitutional democracy was restored, Mujica was freed under an amnesty law that covered political and related military crimes committed since 1962.
In the 1994 general elections, Mujica was elected deputy and in the elections of 1999 he was elected senator. Due in part to Mujica's charisma, the MPP continued to grow in popularity and votes, and by 2004, it had become the largest of any faction within the Broad Front. In the elections of that year, Mujica was re-elected to the Senate, and the MPP obtained over 300,000 votes, thus consolidating its position as the top political force within the coalition and a major force behind the victory of presidential candidate Tabaré Vázquez. Mujica was then elected in 2009 as president in the following elections.
On 1 March 2005, President Tabaré Vázquez designated Mujica as the Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries (Mujica's own professional background was in the agricultural sector). Upon becoming minister, Mujica resigned his position as senator. He held this position until a cabinet change in 2008, when he resigned and was replaced by Ernesto Agazzi. Mujica then returned to his seat in the Senate.
In 2005, Mujica married Lucía Topolansky, a fellow former Tupamaros member, senator and former vice-president, after many years living together. They have no children and live on a farm owned by Lucía in the outskirts of Montevideo, where they cultivate chrysanthemums for sale, having declined to live in the presidential palace or to use its staff. Also living at his farm is his three-legged dog, Manuela. He has drawn worldwide attention for his lifestyle.
In October 2009, Mujica won a plurality of over 48 percent of the votes compared to 30 percent for former president Lacalle, falling short of the majority required by the constitution, while at the same time renewing the Broad Front's parliamentary majority for the next legislature (2010–2015). A runoff was then held on 29 November to determine the winner; on 30 November Mujica emerged as the victor, with more than 52% of the vote over Lacalle's 43%. In his first speech as president-elect before a crowd of supporters, Mujica acknowledged his political adversaries and called for unity, stating that there would be no winners or losers ("Ni vencidos, ni vencedores"). He added that "it is a mistake to think that power comes from above, when it comes from within the hearts of the masses (...) it has taken me a lifetime to learn this".
On the Uruguay River pulp mill dispute between Argentina and Uruguay, Mujica was more conciliatory toward the Argentine government than the previous administration, and in 2010 the two nations ended their long-running dispute and signed an agreement detailing an environmental monitoring plan of the river and the setting up of a binational commission. Good personal relations between Mujica and Argentinian counterpart Cristina Kirchner helped lead to the accord, although several bilateral issues remain unresolved, including the dredging of the shared Martin Garcia access channel of the River Plate.
Even though President Vázquez favored his Finance Minister Danilo Astori as presidential candidate of the then unified Broad Front to succeed him in 2010, Mujica's broad appeal and growing support within the party posed a challenge to the president. On 14 December 2008, The Extraordinary Congress "Zelmar Michelini" (a party convention) proclaimed Mujica as the official candidate of the Broad Front for primary elections of 2009, but four more precandidates were allowed to participate, including Astori. On 28 June 2009, Mujica won the primary elections becoming the presidential candidate of the Broad Front for the 2009 general election. After that, Astori agreed to be his running mate. Their campaign was centered on the concept of continuing and deepening the policies of the highly popular administration of Vázquez, using the slogan “Un gobierno honrado, un país de primera" (An honest government, a first-class country) – indirectly referencing cases of administrative corruption within the former government of the major opposition candidate, conservative Luis Alberto Lacalle. During the campaign, Mujica distanced himself from the governing style of presidents like Hugo Chávez (Venezuela) or Evo Morales (Bolivia), claiming the center-left governments of Brazilian Luis Inácio Lula da Silva or Chilean socialist Michelle Bachelet as regional examples upon which he would model his administration. Known for his informal style of dress, Mujica donned a suit (without a tie) for some stops in the presidential campaign, notably during visits to regional heads of state.
He has used a 1987 Volkswagen Beetle as a means of transportation. In 2010, the value of the car was $1,800 and represented the entirety of the mandatory annual personal wealth declaration filed by Mujica for that year. In November 2014, the Uruguayan newspaper Búsqueda reported that he had been offered 1 million dollars for the car; he said that if he did get 1 million dollars for the car it would be donated to house the homeless through a programme that he supports.
He was close to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, whom he considered to be "the most generous ruler I have ever known." In 2011, he spoke out against the military operations launched by several Western countries against Libya.
In June 2012, Mujica's government made a controversial move to legalize state-controlled sales of marijuana in Uruguay in order to fight drug-related crimes and health issues, and stated that they would ask global leaders to do the same. Mujica said that by regulating Uruguay's estimated $40 million-a-year marijuana business, the state would take it away from drug traffickers, and weaken the drug cartels. The state would also be able to keep track of all marijuana consumers in the country and provide treatment to the most serious abusers, much like that which is done with alcoholics. Mujica passed same-sex marriage law and legalised abortion for women.
In September 2013, Mujica addressed the United Nations General Assembly, with a very long speech devoted to humanity and globalization. The speech called on the international community to strengthen efforts to preserve the planet for future generations and highlighted the power of the financial systems and the impact of economic fallout on ordinary people. He urged a return to simplicity, with lives founded on human relationships, love, friendship, adventure, solidarity and family, instead of lives shackled to the economy and the markets.
On 1 March 2015, Mujica's term as president came to an end. According to BBC correspondent Wyre Davies, "Mujica left office with a relatively healthy economy and with social stability those bigger neighbours could only dream of."
During the last months of 2013, the Serbian film director Emir Kusturica started shooting a documentary on the life of Mujica, El Pepe, una vida suprema released in 2018, whom he considers "the last hero of politics". In 2014 Italian author Frank Iodice wrote the book Breve dialogo sulla felicità, which centers on the life of Mujica. Ten thousand copies of the book were printed and distributed for free to local school children. In June 2016, Mujica received the Order of the Flag of Republika Srpska from the president of Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik.
Currently, Jose Mujica is 86 years, 3 months and 30 days old. Jose Mujica will celebrate 87th birthday on a Friday 20th of May 2022.
Find out about Jose Mujica birthday activities in timeline view here.