Uruguay's Pepe Mujica: 'Inequality Is the Enemy of Democracy'

"The biggest threat to democracy is the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few," said the former Uruguayan president.

Former President of Uruguay Jose Mujica said Latin America was the richest and at the same time the most unjust region in the world, and that all democracies should seek to end economic injustice, remarks that came during the third annual Latin American Summit of Progressive Movements Wednesday in Ecuador on Wednesday.

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"The biggest threat to democracy is the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few, and therefore the concentration of power," Mujica told an audience in the coastal city of Guayaquil.

Lenin Moreno, former vice president of Ecuador and the U.N.’s Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility, greeted Mujica and recalled one of his most important sayings: "If you like money, don't go into politics. Keep making money, for that is not the fruit of politics."

According to “Pepe” Mujica, to achieve a socialist vision of an ideal society, governments need to fight for equality, not charity.

"We live in the most unequal and unjust continent in the world," said Mujica, now an Uruguayan senator. "We have so many debts to our people."

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Mujica said that people can’t live in an idealistic world, since there is a deep economic inequality in the region, and cited the example of the Mexican billionaire businessman Carlos Slim.

"The richest man in the world is from this continent. He would have to live 250 years, spending US$1 million a day, to spend it all," said Mujica.

Mujica said leftist parties and governments should not let the right-wing destroy everything for which they have fought.

“Inequality is the enemy of democracy,” said Mujica. Mujica called on progressive movements to find unity, since “without unity, we lose our strength.”

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