Yesterday the world saw Jose “Pepe” Mujica step down from his 5-year tenure as the President of Uruguay, a man who is a misnomer to what we expect from modern leaders. A leftist Guerrila leader back in the 60s who later served in all 13 years in prison for his political activities, he was part of a group that was heavily influenced by the Cuban revolutionary. However, over time (And time in prison) he became more pragmatic with his socialist tendencies but still his brand of populism made Uruguay one of the most progressive nations on the planet.
I am a big fan of Mujica, and it got me thinking.
How great would it be if Guam elected its own version of the “Pauper President.” We would call him the “Lancheru Governor.”
The Lancheru Governor (LG) would not live in some multi-million dollar home in Agana or Tamuning, but elect to stay in his family’s ranch in Malesso. (Mujica refused to stay in the Presidential Palace and opted to live on his wife’s small farm outside Montevideo)
The LG would stand down all security services and would drive the jankiest Guam Bomb you will ever see to Adelup. (Mujica is known for driving a rustic 1987 Volkswagen Beetle to and from government meetings, which also happens to be his most valuable personal possession in his measly inventory of belongings)
The LG would cultivate orchids and sell them at the night market. (Mujica and his wife grow Chrysanthemum flowers on their farm to sell)
The LG would raise the minimum wage and create a stronger unionized workforce, and is not afraid to raise the taxes for wealthy off-island businessmen. (Mujica raised the minimum wage in his country by 50%, decreasing a 40% poverty rate in 2010 to 11% by the end of last year. He also has voiced his disdain for wealth as something that is drastically destroying our resources/planet)
The LG would legalize cannabis and regulate it like Alcohol and Nicotine. Take power away from the unlawful and treat addiction. (Mujica legalized marijuana in his country, saying “It’s easier to control something if it’s legal and that’s why we’ve done this)
The LG would forcibly implement renewable energy sources, like solar and wind power, eliminating the need for expensive non-renewable resources and promote clean industry on Guam. (Mujica spearheaded wind power in his country, aiming for 90% of their power to come from renewable sources)
The LG would donate 90% of his salary to local charities. (Mujica does this and lives on approximately 800 dollars a month, the average income of a citizen in his country, also he was technically the poorest leader on Earth, Net Worth Wise, and still gives nearly all of his earned income away).
The LG would own an adorable pet Carabao named Manny, who unfortunately lost one of its horns it an automobile collision. (Mujica owns a 3-legged dog named Manuela who he accidentally ran over one of her legs with a tractor).
It makes me smile to think of a humble ranch soul that could whip Guam into a real Island Paradise, which is an Island that can sustain on its own resources, and not rely on outside hands for food, money, and ideas. I am fully aware that Guam and Uruguay have many differences, but we need more local candidates who are not afraid of defying the status quo, and are willing to take that courageous step.