HAVANA TIMES — Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird arrived in Havana on Friday at the beginning of multi-nation tour in Latin American to include Mexico, Venezuela, Peru and Panama.
The timing of the first visit to Havana by a top Canadian diplomat since Joe Clark’s trip in 1986, coincides with economic reforms in Cuba as Raul Castro attempts to “update” his socialist system and kick-start the island’s economy with market friendlier measures.
Canadian companies have large investments in Cuba’s mining industry and Canadian tourism accounts for around 40% of the key sector in the island’s economy. About a million Canadians visit Cuba every year, the largest amount from any single country.
Baird is scheduled to meet with Cuban VP Ricardo Cabrisas and Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, as well as meet with Canadian business reps, notes CBC news.