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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2004 > November
Press Statement
Adam Ereli, Deputy Spokesman
Washington, DC
November 17, 2004


Fifteenth Anniversary of the Velvet Revolution

The United States joins the people of the Czech Republic and Slovakia in commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. November 17, 1989 marked the end of the communist era in then-Czechoslovakia, and led to the nationís first democratically elected government, led by President Vaclav Havel, since the 1948 communist coup. The relatively peaceful transfer of power was in large part due to the leadership of those who took to the streets to demonstrate against authoritarianism, despite the great dangers involved. Their courage and resolve inspired the world and helped bring to an end the division of Europe.

Since then, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have rejoined the Euro-Atlantic community, becoming members of NATO and the EU. Both countries have been steadfast in their support for freedom and democracy beyond their borders, highlighting oppression in Cuba, helping to monitor elections in Belarus and Ukraine, and training judges, deminers and election officials in order to build a free and democratic Iraq.. The Czech Republic and Slovakia remain a source of inspiration for victims of political injustice and misrule around the globe, and we join them in celebrating the 15th anniversary of their return to freedom.

2004/1258

Released on November 17, 2004

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