Jose Mujica receives $1m offer for his blue Beetle

The man once nicknamed _the poorest president in the world_ told the Uruguayan weekly Busqueda that an Arab sheik offered $1m for the humble car.

When asked about the reported offer at a news conference, Mujica, who is standing down as president, 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 in Mexico and predicted he could get 10 four-wheel-drive trucks for it, according to a spokesman for the Mexican embassy who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to talk with the press.

Mujica, a former leftist Tupamaro guerrilla leader, said that if he got $1m for the car, he would donate the money to a scheme for 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 because he has _no commitment to cars_ and he joked that he did not sell it because of his dog Manuela, famous for only having three legs.

Asked why someone would pay a fortune for his little car, Mujica said: _Human beings have a bit of fetishism; we need certain material symbols._ 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 world 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, of which he donates 20% to his political movement. Earlier this year he put his total wealth at $322,883, with the flower farm reportedly worth $108,000.

Associated Press |

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