On the Occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Velvet Revolution

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
November 13, 2014

Twenty-five years ago, the people of Czechoslovakia rose up to peacefully demand their freedom during the Velvet Revolution. Those students, artists, and union workers led by Vaclav Havel helped usher in the historic wave of freedom that swept across Central and Eastern Europe liberating millions of people who lived behind the Iron Curtain.

The American people were inspired as the Velvet Revolution took hold, the Communist state collapsed, and the barbed wire was pulled down along the borders of West Germany and Austria. We watched with admiration as a nation that had seen its dreams deferred – but had never lost its faith – overcame a system of tyranny with the force of non-violent protest and a simple demand for svobodne volby – free elections.

Today, the democracies of the Czech Republic and Slovakia are strong EU partners and NATO Allies of the United States who are committed to building a peaceful and prosperous world.

On this historic anniversary, I salute the bravery and spirit of those who poured into the streets of Bratislava and Prague a quarter century ago to demand a free and better life. And I congratulate the people of the Czech Republic and Slovakia on 25 years of freedom and democratic governance.