I. Mexico, Cesar Verduga VÉLEZ, Latin-American Association of the Free Thought:
I would like to congratulate you, as well as my old friend Antonio Vergara Lira and all those who
organize the meeting at Oslo for an important initiative such as the creation of the International
Association of the Free Thought.
Ten years ago, I published a book “Governing Globalization”, and in one of the chapters I noted
that one of the threats for the twenty-first century was the fact that if the economic and media
power is concentrated in a few hands, it can abolish some of the gains of modernity and the
Enlightenment, which are the separation between the private sector and the public sector, with the
risk of re-feudalizing modern societies, compelling human beings to live in the middle-ages among
We know that History is not an inevitable future but a future that human beings are making. In this
prospect, gathering Free Thinkers and staunch secularists and activists from the whole world is a
form of resistance against one of the scourges of these days, which is the strengthening of the
power of the churches over the states and society.
Having considered all that I have exposed, I send my formal support to the creation of the IAFT
and formally join in order to participate actively in the initiatives that the Association is going to
II. Ecuador, Ramon Torres PAZMIÑO, Ecuadorian Cultural Centre:
I consider as an undisputable necessity to strengthen the principle of our centre by re-affirming our
Members’ opinions who, with a progressive mentality and an ideological strength of mind toward
human being as a whole, have always defended the practice of secularism, the separation of the
Church and the State and freedom of conscience.
The presence of IAFT is an answer to this necessity. In this regard, the thought and the action of
the Ecuadorian Cultural Centre of which I am the Chairperson, is strongly attached to the practice
of those principles which should be our permanent goal in order to go ahead, with great fervour,
toward a fairer, freer and more inclusive society.
III. Chile, Guillermo Brown FERNÁNDEZ, Latin-American Association of Free Thought.
Of course I am interested in participating in this beautiful prospect proposed by friends from France
to create the International Association of the Free Thought. The idea is extraordinarily good since
every country in Europe and Latin America is working in separate groups to spread and propose in
their regions the high values that represent freedom of conscience across the world.
We shall have more strength, being united to fight against fanaticism, deception and the imposition
of Catholic dogma or some other creeds.
As we know, Chile has introduced into the state and the government an infinite number of rituals
and norms, imposed by the Catholic Church in every life, the protocol and the action of national
Not to mention those rules in colleges, universities, hospitals…. I persist and sign.
IV. Peru, Manuel PAZ y MIÑO, Atheist Association of Peru
We support the initiative to create IAFT.
V. Ecuador, Guillermo FUCHSLOCGER MANTILLA, Eugenio Espejo Cultural Centre
My dear Antonio,
I consider as an honour the invitation that you have sent to me and undoubtedly I accept to be
associated with, insofar as I am available, this type of initiative, initiated by such prestigious
organisations, and taking into account that only unity can offer the possibility to achieve Humanist
projects which we share, starting with establishing secularism, which in the case of Ecuador, exists
only in writing but not in reality. One of the basic factors that has motivated my support is the fact
that you are involved in this effort.
I would like to share a personal concern about the struggles for secularism : a lot of them have
remained on the level of ideas and goals of the time of their birth and if there have been important
developments of secular thinking and practice, its initial conception has not been updated or the
natural expansion of its level of concern and action has not been sufficiently circulated.
The birth of liberalism as a revolutionary doctrine was characterized by the pre-eminence of the
value Liberty in different fields: economical (economic liberalism) as a reaction against the controls
of mercantilism; political (political liberalism) as a reaction against monarchic regimes; and
secularism (ideological liberalism) as a reaction against the control of opinions by religions. But, in
spite of that, it was not a movement for action but for proposals, based on the idea of liberty and its
action was against all that set limits to it. But as centuries went by, and, if it is true that religions
still continue to exert an ideological control, they are not alone to do so since political and
economical powers have understood for ages that the exercise of their rule and ambition would be
facilitated and increased in power if the ideological control was exerted in their profit.
Besides, the major means of ideological control used by religions at the beginning of secularism
was the pulpit and the lectern; but now it is basically the political power and the economical power
that control the unsuspected mass media which allow a perfect and permanent brainwashing.
Confronted to that, the task for secularism continues undoubtedly to oppose the control over
opinions exerted by religions and its penetration in political, economic, educational circles and in
communication to assert their power. But to limit oneself to that, only proves the practical and
theoretical poverty of secularism, which has currently to oppose those who control the innumerable
mass media for their own political and economic benefit and in so doing they exert an impressive
ideological control which has also managed to homogenize the major part, and at an international
level, the political, economical, ethical and also esthetical values.
In consequence of what has just been said, the factors to be taken into account for secularist
action, besides education to freedom and the ABC of communication, have two shortcomings: A) in
a lot of places, there is no longer any secularist militancy because the first activists who should
have acted, freemasons, are not, in a large proportion, free thinkers and are strongly influenced, in
their opinions and everyday practice, by dogmatic religious conceptions. B) in most countries,
there is no secular alternative for fundamental occasions and feelings of Human beings, occasions
that generate a powerful feeling of belonging to something of membership, and for which
freemasons, free thinkers, etc., rely on religious ministers of different faith and religious
ceremonies: birth, time when boys and girls are recognized as young adults, wedding, death.
My dear Antonio, Thank you for having mentioned my name to take part in this effort. I am very
pleased that Jacques Lafouge is involved as a partner. Please bring him my greetings if
you are to meet him and I ask you how I can contribute to this effort.
VI. Free Thinkers and Freemasons of the Republic of Ecuador
The Supreme Council of the Great Equinoctial Lodge of Ecuador is pleased to congratulate you for
your efficient effort in circulating and defending secularism which is raised as a glowing light which
guides universal society toward a goal of equality, fraternity and liberty.
In human History, Humanism appeared as a philosophical school during the Renaissance. It
induced Man to substitute this Humanism to the deity as the focus of his philosophical concerns.
Since then, Man himself, or some of his intellectual faculties, has imposed political or philosophical
development and mainly rationalism and liberalism based on reason and freedom.
However, Liberalism is currently best-known because of its political and economic aspects rather
than through secularism as a Humanist and liberal expression; it represents the struggle for human
liberty in its ideological aspects. Secularism appears and develops in History dominated by
Secularism is not a movement or a tendency in reaction against religion. It is above all a movement
for action and proposals highlighting the value of freedom of thinking and conscience of the human
being in his/her diversity. It immediately goes against a society in which those liberties are
prohibited and it also goes against those who exert the ideological control, notably the priests of
We believe that secularism is an active expression of Humanism. It is not simply a defence, but the
practical application of humanist principles wherever it is socially assessed that they are lacking.
We consider secularism as indissolubly related to Liberty, Equality and Fraternity and notably
freedom of thought, equal opportunities for all and fraternity as a genuine solidarity seeking welfare
for all individuals and groups who make up the various human societies.
On this occasion, we confirm our will to formalize a fraternal alliance with you with the main
purpose of defending and spreading secularism, conceived in the form of a life in dignity for all
VII. Venezuela, Miguel LEÓN PRADO
Thank you for your kind attention to send the OSLO 2011 documents, interesting for reflection.
Presently, I think we have to consider what should be done in the twenty-first century. We should
think about secularism in 2050, by adapting it to the march of time.
The Enlightenment was a reference; we can’t just leave it there.
I believe that Oslo 2011 is a challenge for non-religious critical thinking. It must be a prospective
event, not retrospective. It must be that and only that.
To write something of interest, I would tell you that my ideas are not clear on certain things and I
do not wish to make a contribution which would not be more than usual.
I believe that contributions should be creative and disrespectful. Not repetitive because in that
case, we would not be moving forward, we would stay as a matter of routine and go round in
circles without moving forward.
Your friend for ever.
VIII. Colombia, Luis PENAGOS
My name is Luis Penagos; I am from Barranquilla, Colombia. I am a searcher in Social
Relationships and I have comments and documents which I wish to develop with groups of people
that are freed from gods and religions which have intoxicated human conscience since the advent
of human reason, and which, in spite of the development of knowledge, continue to submit our
fellow citizens to the same myths and tales of redemption, resurrection and other stupid things that
gods of all religions propose. I want to help change those backward creeds and wish to be with
you, Free Thinkers.
IX. Chile, Santiago Escobar SEPÚLVEDA
Thank you for the invitation to participate in such a noticeable initiative and I accept immediately
and with much enthusiasm. I stand at your disposal for all that will be necessary to do. Presently,
I’ll read carefully the documents which were sent and as far as I can, I’ll make the comments which
appear relevant for me.
X. Chile, Vittorio ARIETE, Pythagorus Cultural Centre
I answer YES to your three questions.
As you rightfully say, my personal projects (mainly Sumaqilu) will very probably leave me little time
for this task. But the cause referred to is urgent and we’ll see to the best way to participate and cooperate
in the promotion of the values which we are eager to develop.
XI. Bolivia, Sucre, Fredy TORRICO
I would be delighted to join in the secularist project, but now I have been appointed judge at the
Legislative Council of Sucre, in my country, Bolivia. In February, I gave up the diplomatic mission
in Chile to be appointed in this new position. However, I will be ready for any level of coordination