A million dollars for a Volkswagen Beetle?
That’s the price an Arab sheikh has offered Uruguay’s famously frugal President Jose Mujica for his sky blue 1987 bug, the weekly Busqueda reported Thursday.
According to the magazine, the offer was made at a G77 + China summit earlier this year in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
Apparently it’s not the first time a potential buyer has shown interest in the presidential vehicle, which Mujica drove to the polls to cast his ballot in the October 26 presidential election.
“They made me an offer,” the 79-year-old Mujica told Busqueda. “I was a bit surprised, and at first I really didn’t pay too much attention to it.
“But later, another offer came in, and I began to take it a little more seriously,” he said.
“In any case, if it does happen, all the money would be for the ‘Plan Juntos’ or something else at the service of Uruguay,” he said.
Plan Juntos is a government program that builds housing for the poor.
A former leftist guerrilla, Mujica is known for the modest lifestyle he has maintained, even as president.
According to Busqueda, during a meeting in September with diplomatic representatives in Montevideo, Mexico’s ambassador, Felipe Enriquez, offered to swap 10 four-wheel-drive pickups for Mujica’s Beetle.
Enriquez told the magazine he had made the offer as a “profound admirer of President Mujica, his heritage, his human values, his real solidarity with those most in need, to whom he gives most of his salary as head of state.”
Remarkable for his simple lifestyle and unceremoniousness, “Pepe”, as Mujica is known, also has made headlines by legalizing marijuana, abortion and gay marriage during his presidency, which ends next year.