Uruguayan President José Mujica (left) with Steve Tyler of Aerosmith (right). (Courtesy Secretariat of Communication for the Presidency of Uruguay)

Aerosmith praises Uruguayan president’s marijuana legalization efforts, work with poor

American hard-rock band, Aerosmith, which is in Uruguay for a concert at Montevideo’s main Centenario stadium Wednesday night, praised Uruguayan President José Mujica during an official visit Tuesday afternoon. Aerosmith frontman Steve Tyler called Mujica one of the best presidents in the Americas, adding more presidents should be like José Mujica. Tyler expressed admiration for Mujica’s work with the country’s poor and for the country’s current marijuana legalization efforts.

“He gives 70 percent of his salary for people’s homes. Here in this small country, Uruguay, I think he’s doing it the right way, grass roots and we believe in that,” Tyler said.

President Mujica, a former leftist guerrilla, is widely considered to be “the world’s poorest president,” donating most of his presidential pay to his program Plan Juntos or Plan Together, which provides free homes to the country’s poor, primarily households spearheaded by single mothers. The program also provides medical care. According to Joaquín Constanzo with Uruguay’s presidential press office, the president has already donated more than $300,00USD to the program.

(Courtesy Secretariat of Communication for the Presidency of Uruguay)

(Courtesy Secretariat of Communication for the Presidency of Uruguay)

The visit between the legendary American rock band and Uruguay’s head of state was arranged following a request by Aerosmith to Uruguay’s Torre Ejecutiva or Executive Tower, the country’s presidential office. Aerosmith visited with the president for more than two hours in public and private events, staying long enough to watch the Montevideo sunset, according to Constanzo.

Tyler found commonalities between the members of Aerosmith and Mujica saying, “Your president is a freedom fighter and in many ways we fight for freedom ourselves with music.”

At the end of the visit, Aerosmith gave President Mujica a signed electric guitar.

Uruguay is currently in the headlines internationally for being close to becoming the first country to legalize marijuana. The country’s lower house passed a marijuana legalization bill back in late July that is now headed to that country’s senate. President Mujica backs the proposal.

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