Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.  Photo: johnbaird.com
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. Photo: johnbaird.com

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.

 

 


4 thoughts on “Canada FM Visits Cuba

  • An interestingop-ed on Canadian-Cuban relations:

    “On Cuba, Canada has no choice but to walk Washington’s tightrope”

    “Despite limited room for manoeuvre Canada has managed a robust policy of engagement with Cuba. This is a policy that has been and is clearly not an embrace of U.S. policy, but neither is it in line with the rest of Latin America.Canada has a full-fledged aid program in the country that is carried out in consultation with the Cuban government. Canada invests and trades with the country is open to travel and will welcome Cuban athletes to Toronto for the next PanAm games. All without controversy or second thought.

    But Canada also recognises that Cuba is dictatorship; something the rest of the hemisphere seems to have forgotten in its fit of pique with the U.S.

    While Canada welcomes Cuban participation in hemispheric events, it draws the line at extending to it the same recognition and privileges as the rest of the democracies in the hemisphere; or, to put it more clearly, the rest of the non-dictatorial regimes in the hemisphere. To that point Cuba does not and will not get invited to a meeting the explicit purpose of which is to convene – democratically – elected heads of government. Doing so is as egregious a sin as the U.S. embargo against Cuba and would make a mockery of the decades long struggle against dictatorship in the hemisphere; a fight to which Canada has contributed much.”

  • Baird is the Canadian Foreign Minister, similar position to the US Secretary of State. Stephen Harper is our Prime Minister.

    I do hope he raises human rights, publicly so the Cuban people can hear him. It would be great if he were to meet with Cuban dissidents such as the Ladies in White.

  • Baird is NOT PM….and don’t hold your breath for Harper to visit Cuba

  • Other internet sites have also reported that the Canadian PM will also meet with a few members of ‘civil society’ during his visit to Cuba. Of course, that is if State Security does not arrest all of them before the visit as they did before the Pope’s visit.

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