What the German experience could mean for the American-Cuban relationship
President Reagan's public appeal ito Gorbatsov while at the wall in Berlin to "tear down that wall" - probably has not done much. What truly changed the mood in East Germany was the increasing knowledge about everyday life in Western Europe. Easterners became aware of the higher standard of living, they realized that pretty much everybody in Western Germany had a car that looked nice and ran fast (unlike the East German Trabbi), a video recorder (a hot item back then) and a few more staples of life that were highly desired in the East, yet not available for purchase - not even for Western cash.
Easterners simply wanted some basic freedoms, such as the freedom to travel, to visit relatives in the West, and just to even visit the West to see what it looked like.
So knowledge about life in the non-communistic West with its material benefits and freedoms got through to the Easterners, spread created unrest. It led the the simple question: we do we not live as well and why do we not haver the same freedoms? And this questions created unrest ultimately leading to public protests for opening the walland having freedom to travel. And after a while, the military and police commanders in Berlin simply did not dare anymore to violently disperse the protesters - and the political leaders had to open the wall. And just like that it was over for the East.
How does this transfer to the Cuba situation? That the best things for the people of Cuba, for freedom and democracy will be a million American tourists simply visiting Cuba. Every single one will carry a smartphone, an iPad or some similar device. On that device they will have hundreds of photos and the Cubans will discover that the "Capitalist Imperialism" does not enslave people, that people in the US are not suppressed, suffering, miserable or on the other hand ill meaning, communist haters, but simply - very simply - human beings. Human beings with the same desires, wishes dreams and daily troubles as the Cubans. And it will dawn on them that the difference is just the political and economical system. And then they will want to change it.
So, the best path to freedom in Cuba is simply to open relationships and to travel to Cuba, to visit, to talk, to enjoy life there, eat out, hang out on the beach and on the Havana promenade. Human nature will do the rest.
No political changes needed. No big treaties, no negotiations, no this or that.....The worst thing for the people in Cuba would be to keep up the insulation. Insulation protects the present government. It does not hurt the members of the government, the communist elite is always privileged, they have always had what they needed and wanted. The common people feel it the most.
So, enjoy the opening, travel to Cuba and talk to Cubans.
The German history supports it.