Canada–Cuba relations

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Canada-Cuba relations
Map indicating locations of Canada and Cuba

Canada

Cuba

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.

History[edit]

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.[1] Cuba was the first country in the Caribbean selected by Canada for a diplomatic mission.[1] 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.[2] The visit was also the first from a Western country in Cuba since 1960.[2]

Fidel Castro was among Pierre Trudeau's pallbearers at his funeral in 2000.[3]

Canadian-Cuban Business Ventures[edit]

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.[4] 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".[5][6] 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.[7][8] 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.[9]

There are in total 85 Canadian companies and subsidiaries operating in Cuba, including brewer Labatt Breweries and Pizza Nova.[10]

Diplomatic Representation[edit]

Canada has an embassy in Havana since 1945 and is located in the upscale district of Miramar in municipal area of Playa in Havana.

Cuba has an embassy in Ottawa and Consulates in Toronto[11] and Montreal.[12]

See also[edit]


References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Canada - Cuba Relations". Government of Canada. 
  2. ^ a b 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. 
  3. ^ "Castro mourns for Trudeau, who stood up for him". CNN. 2000-10-03. 
  4. ^ "History of Sherritt". Sherritt International. 
  5. ^ "Online NewsHour: Lloyd Axworthy". Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). 1997-01-23. 
  6. ^ "Ottawa Objects To Helms-Burton". The Militant. 1996-03-18. 
  7. ^ "BILL C-339: The Godfrey-Milliken Bill". 
  8. ^ "LEGISinfo: Private Member's Bill C-339 (35-2)". Government of Canada. 
  9. ^ "Canada opposes U.S. crackdown on Cuba visitors". International Bicycle Fund. 2001-09-01. 
  10. ^ "News in Depth: FAQs on Canada-Cuba trade". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2006-08-03. 
  11. ^ "Consulate General of Cuba in Toronto". Embassy of Cuba in Canada. 
  12. ^ "Consulate General of Cuba in Montreal". Embassy of Cuba in Canada. 

External links[edit]