“There are a time to come and a time to go in the life”. Jose Pepe Mujica has resigned this Tuesday his status as senator, the previous step to actively withdraw from the politics that had him as a relevant protagonist for more than half a century. The former president did not surprise any Uruguayan with his decision to leave the center of the scene. He had already hinted at her months ago. The Senate respected his wish with a unanimous vote and speeches of heartfelt tribute to the man who resolved to step aside for reasons of personal fatigue and the rigors imposed by the pandemic, even in a country like Uruguay, where 2,560 positive cases and 51 deaths have been computed.
The 85 years and his condition as a carrier of an autoimmune disease therefore accelerated the times of his departure from the legislature. “This situation obliges me, with great regret for my deep political vocation, to request that I resign from the bank granted to me by citizenship,” said the former member of the National Liberation Movement – Tupamaros (MLNT). Mujica was part of that guerrilla group that operated in the 60s and 70s. He was held hostage by the military regime for more than a decade, in humiliating situations. After the recovery of democracy, in the middle of the following decade, he and his former companions in arms joined traditional political life as the Popular Participation Movement and a member of the left-wing Frente Amplio party.
Pepe, as locals and strangers call him, served as minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries of the governments of the center-left coalition. His frank, colloquial style, sometimes bordering on the picaresque, won him sympathy even outside his own political space. He never abjured his origins or past experiences. But the passage of time allowed him to have other perspectives and express his critical view of the processes of Venezuela and Nicaragua, especially.
“Hate is fire like love, but love is creator and hate destroys us. I have my good number of defects, I am passionate, but in my garden I have not cultivated hatred for decades, because I learned a hard lesson that life imposed on me, that hatred ends up stupid, it makes us lose objectivity & rdquor; as a corollary of his long activity. But before saying goodbye, he pointed out, as a sentence: “succeeding in life is not winning, it is getting up and starting over every time one falls. “
It was more than a coincidence that Mujica’s departure from the Senate coincided with that of another former head of state and legislator, nothing less than Julio Maria Sanguinetti, who began the democratic transition in that country in 1985.