Press Release
For Immediate Release: 
November 9, 2019
Contact Info: 
Annaliese Davis 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC — House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today on the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall: 

"'Freedom has many difficulties, and democracy is not perfect,’ President Kennedy told the people of a besieged West Berlin in 1963.  However, he declared, ‘we have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in, to prevent them from leaving us.’  His powerful words chipped like figurative hammers against the system of totalitarian Communism, which cast a shadow of fear and repression across Eastern and Central Europe and much of the world.  Thirty years ago today, literal hammers in the hands of ordinary Germans, yearning for freedom and to choose their own future, tore down the wall that stood as a symbol of that evil system.  In doing so, they accelerated the process of Soviet Communism’s collapse.  In the hopeful cheers of the young men and women who crossed the no-man’s land into each other’s sectors of a divided city and country, the world saw the beginning of a new Europe, united and free. I was proud to serve as the Chairman of the Helsinki Commission during that time of transformation, and to have worked to promote democracy across the continent. 
 
“In 2019, the image of the Berlin Wall’s opening remains as powerful a statement of democracy’s triumph as President Kennedy’s enduring argument for democracy’s supremacy.  We look to that moment as we see the battle for democracy enter a new phase.  Seizing on democracy’s difficulties and imperfections, those who favor one-person or one-party control, those who give sanction to corruption, and those who disdain the rule of law seek to exploit our openness and freedoms in order to promote their twisted tenets of ethno-nationalism, political conformity, and oligarchy.  Their tools are no longer walls of brick and concrete; rather, they are digital firewalls, disinformation campaigns, kleptocracy and corruption, election interference, and efforts to sow division through intolerance, xenophobia, misogyny, and homophobia. 
 
“From the fall of the Berlin Wall, let us draw strength and confidence that once again democracy and the freedoms it makes possible will triumph.  Let us recognize and take seriously the threats to our democracy and be reminded of the importance of a strong NATO alliance, which the House voted overwhelmingly to support earlier this year. And to all those who doubt that democracy, even with its difficulties and imperfections, offers the best way for free men and women to pursue happiness and reach for opportunity, we say once more: ‘Let them come to Berlin.’”