In which country did an ex-prisoner become president?
To answer this question most people will reply "South Africa."
Yet Nelson Mandela was not the only ex-prisoner to become the leader of his nation.
Jose Mujica spent 14 years in prison before he became the 40th president of Uruguay, leading this small south American nation from 2010 to 2015.
Mujica earned the title of the "world's poorest president" by living in a rundown farmhouse instead of the presidential palace, driving a 1987 VW Beetle and giving away 90% of his salary to charity.
His security detail consisted of two police officers and Manuela, his three-legged dog.
He spent his spare time while president working the land and growing flowers with his wife. He waited his turn at public hospitals.
"I've lived like this most of my life. I can live well with what I have," he used to say.
During the 1970s and 1980s Mujica was a member of the Tupamaros, a group of left-wing revolutionaries.
He was shot six times, tortured and imprisoned for 14 years, three of them in solitary confinement.
Those years in prison shaped Mujica's worldview. The name Jose is the Spanish form of Joseph, the Biblical and Quranic prophet who also spent time in prison.
"I live with little, just what’s necessary, not too tied down to material things. Why? So I can have more free time. To do what? What I like. Freedom is having time to live." he once said.
In 1985 power changed hands in Uruguay and Mujica was released from prison. He entered politics, and later became the Minister for Agriculture.
Two years later, the Uruguayan government began a programme of planting eucalyptus (gum) trees all over the country in a bid to boost its economy.
Some of these trees were planted in Rivera, a small province of northern Uruguay along the border with southern Brazil.
As the first eucalyptus trees in Rivera began to blossom in 1995, local beekeepers set up bee hives on the edges of these small eucalyptus forests.
The honey that they produced was a groundbreaking discovery. Creamy, with tasting notes of butterscotch and chocolate, laboratory tests indicated that it was one of the purest eucalyptus honeys in the world.
In 2016 our Spanish speaking staff at the Latin Honey Shop discovered this honey. Working with our partners and beekeepers in Uruguay, we brought this multiple award-winning honey to the United Kingdom.
We named this honey the Rivera Gum.
“When you buy something, the instrument is money, but in reality you are buying it with the hours of your life that you spent earning that money. The greatest thing that you have is that you are alive.” [Jose Mujica]
You can own a part of this story and order the amazing Raw Organic Rivera Gum Honey From Uruguay exclusively from latinhoneyshop.com for only CA$31.26 a jar.