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Canada has maintained consistently cordial relations with Cuba, in spite of considerable pressure from the United States, with the island being one of the most popular international travel destinations for Canadian citizens.
Canada–Cuba relations can be traced back to the 18th century, when vessels from the Atlantic provinces of Canada traded codfish and beer for rum and sugar. Cuba was the first country in the Caribbean selected by Canada for a diplomatic mission. Official diplomatic relations were established in 1945, when Emile Vaillancourt, a noted writer and historian, was designated Canada's representative in Cuba. Canada and Mexico were the only two countries in the hemisphere to maintain uninterrupted diplomatic relations with Cuba following the Cuban Revolution in 1959.
Relations were especially warm in the 1970s and 1980s during the time when Pierre Elliot Trudeau was the Prime Minister of Canada. Trudeau spent three days in Cuba and sparked a lifelong friendship with Fidel Castro. The visit was also the first from a Western country in Cuba since 1960.
Canadian-Cuban Business Ventures
In 1994, a joint venture was formed between the Cuban Nickel Union and the Canadian firm Sherritt International, which operates a mining and processing plant on the island in Moa. A second enterprise, Cobalt Refinery Co. Inc., was created in Alberta for nickel refining. Canada has been critical of the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, and strongly objected to the Helms-Burton Act. In 1996 Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy stated: "Canada shares the U.S. objectives of improving human rights standards and moving to more representative government in Cuba. But we are concerned that the Helms-Burton Act takes the wrong approach. That is why we have been working with other countries to uphold the principles of international law". In 1996 a Private Member's Bill was introduced, but not made law, in the Canadian parliament; this law called the Godfrey-Milliken Bill was in response to the extraterritoriality of the aforementioned Act. Canada also protests U.S. preclearance customs agents in Canadian airports who try to catch American citizens travelling to Cuba in defiance of U.S. law.
- Foreign relations of Canada
- Foreign relations of Cuba
- Canada–Latin America relations
- Cuba–United States relations
- "Canada - Cuba Relations". Government of Canada.
- Robert Wright (2007). Three Nights in Havana: Pierre Trudeau, Fidel Castro and the Cold War World. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-00-200626-2. OCLC 184967828.
- "Castro mourns for Trudeau, who stood up for him". CNN. 2000-10-03.
- "History of Sherritt". Sherritt International.
- "Online NewsHour: Lloyd Axworthy". Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). 1997-01-23.
- "Ottawa Objects To Helms-Burton". The Militant. 1996-03-18.
- "BILL C-339: The Godfrey-Milliken Bill".
- "LEGISinfo: Private Member's Bill C-339 (35-2)". Government of Canada.
- "Canada opposes U.S. crackdown on Cuba visitors". International Bicycle Fund. 2001-09-01.
- "News in Depth: FAQs on Canada-Cuba trade". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2006-08-03.
- "Consulate General of Cuba in Toronto". Embassy of Cuba in Canada.
- "Consulate General of Cuba in Montreal". Embassy of Cuba in Canada.