Peruvian-born writer Mario Vargas Llosa, a nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature, made his stinging comments at a think tank in Washington.
Sacrificing freedoms in the name of heightened US security after the September 11 attacks is "extremely dangerous" and gives "reason to the terrorists," he told the Cato Institute.
The "11th of September has produced a trauma in America and immediately there's been a reaction, quite natural, that we know very well in Latin America: In order to be more effective against terrorism, we should restrict some liberties," he said.
"This is a very big mistake, a very, very big mistake. We know this kind of reasoning because in Latin America, effectiveness has been used once and again in our countries to justify not only restriction but abolition of private and civil liberties," he
added on Tuesday.
However, Vargas Llosa said, "Freedom is the best tool that we have to fight not only terrorism but all the aggressions and conspiracies against freedom."
"Freedom is the best tool that we have to fight not only terrorism but all the aggressions and conspiracies against freedom."
Mario Vargas Llosa
"If, in order to be more effective, we reduce or abolish freedom, we are giving reason to the terrorists, to the enemy, we are accepting that the rules of the game are not the rules of law but the rules of effectiveness, of power - and this is extremely dangerous," he said.
"This can produce a dynamic in which effectiveness can be used as a pretext in order to restrict or abolish what is really the raison d'etre of a free society," he warned.
Vargas Llosa is Peru's most celebrated contemporary writer, critic and essayist. His books include "Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter," which was adapted for the big screen, and 1997's "The Notebooks of Don Rigoberto."
His 1993 book, "A Fish in the Water: A Memoir," recounted his unsuccessful run for president in 1990.