I've been following with some interest the presidency of Jose Mujica, the leader of Uruguay.
Via The Smirking Chimp, a great article by Medea Benjamin about Mujica's policies. You should read the entire article at the link; below I summarize the major highlights:
1. He lives simply and rejects the perks of the presidency.
2. He supported the nation’s groundbreaking legalization of marijuana.
3. In August 2013, Mujica signed the bill making Uruguay the second nation in Latin America (after Argentina) to legalize gay marriage.
4. He’s not afraid to confront corporate abuses.
5. He supported the legalization of abortion in Uruguay (his predecessor had vetoed the bill).
6. He’s an environmentalist trying to limit needless consumption.
7. He is focusing on redistributing his nation’s wealth, claiming that his administration has reduced poverty from 37% to 11%. “Businesses just want to increase their profits; it’s up to the government to make sure they distribute enough of those profits so workers have the money to buy the goods they produce.”
8. He has offered to take detainees cleared for release from Guantanamo.
9. He is opposed to war and militarism. “The world spends $2 billion a minute on military spending,” he exclaimed in horror to the students at American University. “I used to think there were just, noble wars, but I don’t think that anymore,” said the former armed guerrilla. “Now I think the only solution is negotiations. The worst negotiation is better than the best war, and the only way to insure peace is to cultivate tolerance.”
Why can't we have somebody like this here in the U.S.?