The Slatest

President of Uruguay Criticizes the Business Suit

Uruguayan President Jose Mujica addresses the U.N. General Assembly on September 24, 2013 in New York City.

Photo by Justin Lane-Pool/Getty Images

Latin American and the Caribbean leaders declared a new “zone of peace” today as they wrapped up their regional summit. The meeting, meant to curtail Washington’s influence, brought together 33 nations of the Western hemisphere, but excluded the United States and Canada. Heads of state discussed immigration, economic struggles, and the tyranny of the business suit. Via the AP:

“We have to dress like English gentlemen!” exclaimed [Uruguay President Jose] Mujica, clad in a rumpled white shirt. “That’s the suit that industrialization imposed on the world!”

“Even the Japanese had to abandon their kimonos to have prestige in the world,” he continued, gesturing forcefully and rapping a pen on the table to punctuate his words. “We all had to dress up like monkeys with ties.”

More than a style point here, of course. Mujica, who lives on a small farm and reportedly gives away nine-tenths of his salary, urged the group to stay connected to their cultural roots and the average citizen. The AP notes, he wore no tie.