“I would consider the year 1989 to represent much greater deliverance than I did before, although I had considered it as such even before. If you understand what I want to say: that feeling of being restricted and humiliated. My wife and I and our friends were all athletes, we shared some common interests, but as far as our position in the society goes, we were second-class people. We were not those who could voice their opinions on things. And if we forgot and said something, then we got into trouble and we had to make excuses for that.”
“Probably already since the Biblical times, people can be controlled by the call ‘Follow me, and you will have better lives’ and a great number of people .. jumps up at fall for that. Each of us would like to have a better life. Girls, if somebody claims that you will have better lives when you follow him, don’t believe him too much. One mostly lives such life how he arranges it for himself. When he believes in himself and his abilities and knowledge. Trust in yourselves, above all. This is my religion, if you permit me to say so.”
“When you live in a situation like this, you can ask: ‘Why have you not signed Charter 77?’ To be honest, firstly, we knew that something like that existed, but we never got any closer to it; and secondly, I am not sure if we would have done it, because we had two little children, and one lives in order to pass on one’s life to one’s children. On the contrary, if we had signed it, our children would have been banned from schools and from other things. However, one thing that I have never signed, although it was possible to do it, was the application to join the Communist Party. ‘You will enjoy a better position, you will be promoted a director.’ I told them that I didn’t feel up to it, because the responsibility was too great. I made that up, but they knew anyway that it was only my evading tactics.”
Instead of a voucher for a Spartak car I received an air ticket
Ing. Richard Barvínek was born in 1931 in a family of a clerk and social democrat. He graduated from the faculty of civil engineering at the Czech Technical University in Prague where he specialized in geotechnology. After graduation from the university he accepted a job offer to go to eastern Slovakia, where he worked on a construction of a railway as part of an assignment from the government. After his return from the two-year working stay in Slovakia and completion of his military service he received an offer to go to Cuba as a construction specialist. He travelled there in 1965 together with his wife, who worked as a hydrogeologist, and with his son; their daughter was born later. Richard Barvínek spent three years in Cuba with his family and he returned to Czechoslovakia in autumn 1968. Mr. and Mrs. Barvínek considered emigration, but they eventually decided to stay in Czechoslovakia for family reasons. Richard continued going to work abroad with his family throughout the 1970s and 1980s. As an expert on geotechnology, he stayed and worked mostly in Latin American countries (Peru, Colombia, Belize) and in some others, like Algeria and Jordan. He still works in his profession as a geotechnologist and he is still an active athlete as well. Richard Barvínek and his wife live in Prague.