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Uruguay's casual president livens up sober summit with a take-down of the business suit


Uruguay's President Jose Mujica speaks on the second day of the CELAC Summit in Havana, Cuba, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014. Leaders from across Latin America and the Caribbean signed a resolution declaring the region a "zone of peace" on Wednesday, pledging to resolve their disputes as respectful neighbors without the use of arms. (AP Photo/Ismael Francisco, Cubadebate) (The Associated Press)

War! Imperialism! Formal attire! One after another, the leaders of Latin America and the Caribbean denounced the ills of the world at a regional summit in Cuba.

It fell to famously casual President Jose Mujica of Uruguay to tackle a subtler evil plaguing humankind: the business suit.

Mujica complained Wednesday about "the suit that industrialization imposed on the world." He called it dressing "like English gentlemen."

His tirade against the suit was a light moment in an otherwise mostly sober gathering focusing on hunger, poverty and inequality.

But Mujica was also trying to make a serious point about leaders staying faithful to their cultural roots and not alienating the common man in a region where the wealthy are a tiny minority.