Need for international
and community cooperation
in Latin America in favor
of Free Software
Caracas, Venezuela. July 20th, 2009
Free Software Foundation Latin America's
In Caracas, Venezuela, on the 20th day of the month of July, 2009, in conformance with the Freedom values established in the GNU Manifesto and in the Free Software definition,
Considering that scientific and technologic knowledge amounts to a need and a right of the peoples of Latin America, as prioritary policy for the cultural, economic, social and political development of their nations.
Considering that the commitment is inalienable to defend the rights of users, developers, governments and businesses to use, adapt, share and improve their software and resist the unauthorized use of personal information by third parties, so as to be able to maintain control of their informatics.
Considering that Free Software is an ethical way of technological development, with collaborative features, based on or supported by a social fabric formed by multidisciplinary teams that fight and participate for a common end: Software Freedom and the values it encompasses.
Considering that Free Software represents, for the Peoples and Governments of Latin America, an opportunity for the adoption of Free Open Standards in their administrative processes, that suit their needs for implementing information systems for Electronic Government.
Considering that the adoption of Free Software developed with Free Open Standards in Latin American governments will facilitate interoperability of the information systems of the States, contributing to faster and appropriate responses to citizens, improving governability, along with a greater participation of users in the maintenance of security levels of their software.
Considering that Free Software represents a unique opportunity for the consolidation of Technological Sovereignty and Integration of the Latin American peoples, and the elimination of technological lock in caused by Proprietary Software monopolies.
Considering that a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of great importance for full compliance with said commitment.
As Free Software Foundation Latin America, we have decided to publish the following message through this document, which proclaims “Software Freedom” as a common goal, for which all Latin American nations ought to strive, to the end of generating community work that promotes and demands ethical values, through education and respect for the rights and Freedoms to use, study, modify and distribute Free Software. This is how we have developed the following declaration titled “Caracas Declaration” that contains recommendations for each one of the action axes that we regard as priorities:
On Local Communities and Free Software
We invite Latin American communities and their members to disseminate all their activities and overall their success cases, for knowledge of all local achievements at an international level will serve to exemplify with facts the benefits of Freedom, encouraging other communities to imitate them.
Likewise, for the success of our mission it is important to set aside differences and problems that have become historical background, taking community work initiatives, so that the many similarities prevail over the few differences between local communities, to achieve more and better results.
Software Freedom activists have a responsibility to present values, defending and disseminating the essential Freedoms that define Free Software, and it is to this end that we request them to inform users about the harm caused by the Proprietary Software included in a majority of the currently popular GNU/Linux distributions, and invite them to promote wholly Free distributions, educating society for Freedom and its values over technology.
Free Software Foundation Latin America, conscious of the needs and requirements to confront the grave implications that Proprietary Software imposes, renews its commitment to support the dissemination and the community processes that promote synergy among local communities on an international level, in favor of Freedom and the values that Free Software promotes.
On Free Software and Latin American States
Governments must represent and promote the interests of their peoples, having a duty to ensure the control of the goods they administrate and regulate, a reason for which they must keep them under control through Software that brings with it freedom to run it for any purpose, to study its source code to understand its functioning and adapt it to their own needs, thereby ensuring the state's sovereignty in the technological field and the continuity and integrity of access to information.
This is why we invite governments to use and promote Free Software (including free drivers and associated technologies) so that they can comply with their duty to maintain self control, auditability and sovereignty.
All that states produce in terms of Software is citizens' property and thus a public good, that should be published, respecting the essential Freedoms of Free Software, unless the people decides not to publish it. Furthermore, these public goods must keep their function of serving citizens and must be published under terms that promote the interests of the nations and of society. We summon governments to publish software they develop and use, under licenses that not only respect, but also defend and promote the appropriate values for all its users, that is, Free Software and Copyleft licenses, that make the freedoms inseparable from the software.
Governments of Latin America: promote a culture of respect for Software Freedom, breaking the social inertia that induces governments and people to give up their freedoms, enabling them to generate a society that is freer, more equitable and just.
Free Software in Latin American Education
In the field of education, teaching Free Software will instill the ethical and moral values as a dynamic instrument of integration among individuals, their social contexts and therefore in all nations.
We issue a call for the promotion, among students, of values towards society, fomenting in them the cooperation and the will to share with their neighbor through the use of Free Software, since the use of Proprietary Software turns sharing and collaboration into a crime, and restricts the Freedom to learn by not permitting access to the knowledge about how the Software is built.
Another point is that Free Software enables a better use and redistribution of the economic resources, and these savings enable better educational platforms at education centers.
Free Software Foundation Latin America, acting as an international network of organizations and people who promote Software Freedom, will serve as a facilitating agent for the communication and diffusion of local activities, also supporting initiatives by means of representation and international bridging.
About this document
This document springs out of the first meeting of Free Software Foundation Latin America members, who in Caracas, Venezuela, met at the Fifth National Congress on Free Software and decided to compose this declaration. It contains a set of impressions and positions about community, educational and political aspects, in which the primary focus given to the document is promoting Freedom values over technology and ethical values of practical ones.
Free Software Foundation Latin America joined in 2005 the international FSF network, previously formed by Free Software Foundations in the United States, in Europe and in India. These sister organizations work in their corresponding geographies towards promoting the same Free Software ideals and defending the same freedoms for software users and developers, working locally but cooperating globally.
Copyright 2009 FSFLA
Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this entire document without royalty, provided the copyright notice, the document's official URL, and this permission notice are preserved.
The board members of Free Software Foundation Latin America sign in a single act in the city of Caracas, Venezuela, on July 20th, 2009, with cooperation of the board observer Eduardo Saavedra.