Uruguays President Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize
February 19th, 2014
Categories : Blog
President José “Pepe” Mujica’s name is among those who are to be considered for the Nobel Peace Prize for his contributions to humanity. He is responsible for the legalisation and government controlled cultivation of cannabis within Uruguay.
A humble man devoted to a simple lifestyle
Mujica spoke out about the nomination at the summit of Latin American leaders, stating “I’m very thankful to these people for honoring me. We are only proposing the right to try another path because the path of repression doesn’t work. We don’t know if we’ll succeed. We ask for support, scientific spirit and to understand that no addiction is a good thing. But our efforts go beyond marijuana -- we're taking aim at the drug traffic."
It is a truly inspirational sentiment, and one that not only allows for the responsible use of cannabis, but considers drug use as a whole. The Drugs Peace Institute, a Dutch NGO, also supported the nomination in a letter sent to the committee last month. It drives home the message that Uruguay, and the work of the president and his followers, have put them at the forefront of progressive drug reform.
Mujica stands out as a president by his humility; he is most likely the financially poorest president in the world - by choice. He donates 90% of his monthly salary to charities and renounces to live in the president‘s palace. Instead, he lives in a small farm in the outskirts of the capital, where he and his wife cultivate chrysanthemums for sale. His austere lifestyle is further reflected by his choice to drive an old Volkswagen Beetle.
Mujica was also nominated for his work last year, and was in the top 10 finalists. In the end, the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
What motivated him to legalise cannabis?
This move to legalise cannabis aimed to not only ensure that those who need it have safe, reliable access; but to also target organised crime and drug trafficking. By legalising cannabis, the government not only takes power and money out of the hands of gangs, but also generates additional tax revenue for the country, and saves money on the reduced costs of enforcing prohibition - money that can go into public services and the betterment of life for all of Uruguay’s citizens.
It is a bold move, and Uruguay has waded out into unchartered waters. No country has previously taken the path that they have to combat organised drug crime, and the true effectiveness of this new approach will not be evident for some time. With the level of reform that is currently sweeping the world, one thing is for sure – many countries will be paying close attention to what happens in Uruguay, and many are hoping to see positive results.