Mujica Cordano, José Alberto

Mujica Cordano, José Alberto

1935–, Uruguayan political leader. Popularly known as "Pepe," he had minimal formal education. During the 1960s, Mujica, a farmer and a socialist, was one of the founders of the TupamarosTupamaros
, urban guerrilla organization and political party in Uruguay, also known as the National Liberation Army. Named for the Inca revolutionist Tupac Amaru, it became active as a guerrilla force in the early 1960s, distributing stolen food and money among the poor in
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, a violent guerrilla group that sought to foment social revolution. Captured several times, Mujica was sent (1974) to a military prison, where he served 14 years and was subjected to torture. After the restoration of democracy (1985), he was released and later helped turn the Tupamaros into a political party, which became part of the Broad Front coalition. He was elected as a representative in 1994 and a senator in 1999. Rumpled and plainspoken, he became a popular political figure; from 2005 to 2008 he served secretary of agriculture, thereafter returning to the senate. Running on a moderate socialist platform, he was elected president of Uruguay in 2009.