Uruguays beloved Pepe bows out to spend time with his Beetle and three-legged dog

In five years José Mujica transformed his country, but not his modest lifestyle

As I drive along the port at Montevideo in a government pickup on my way to interview Uruguays outgoing president, José Mujica, a striking sight catches my eye. It is an image that reflects how this most unusual of leaders will have transformed tiny Uruguay into one of the most progressive nations on Earth before he steps down after five years in office next March.

Arriving from Europe is a seemingly endless succession of gigantic grey metal tubes, over 30m long, encasing the long wind-turbine blades that will soon allow this country to meet some 30% of its energy needs from renewable sources.

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