Monday, May 10, 2010

José Mujica - Former Guerilla Leader / President of Uruguay

The former Tupamaro urban guerrilla leader, José Mujica, is now the newly elected president of Uruguay, the very state he fought to overthrow. 

Mujica, a farmer and Socialist senator, has had an improbable political trajectory. He co-founded the Tupamaro movement, inspired by Castro’s revolution in Cuba, and he helped wage an urban guerrilla war in Uruguay, violently robbing banks and businesses and attempting to impose a Marxist-style government on the country by force. He spent almost 15 years in prison in between his revolutionary life and his political progression.
Even more improbably, given Mujica’s past, his running mate was Danilo Astori, the former finance minister under Vázquez who gets much of the credit for the kinds of macroeconomic policies that improved Uruguayan social conditions after a financial crisis at the beginning of the century.
While the more populist-socialist regimes in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador have increasingly chased off foreign investors by nationalizing industries, this non-dogmatic mix of policies has succeeded in lowering unemployment and poverty levels, even as it has generated increased confidence among potential investors. While generally under the leftist banner, Mujica and Vazquez’ Broad Front has actually followed reformist economic policies that track with those pursued by Brazil, Chile and Peru. 
And of course, Mujica dons a boina, made in Uruguay by the Fabrica Nacional de Sombreros

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