HAVANA TIMES – Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election in the United States will not change Canada’s relations with Cuba, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday in Havana.
“The United States elections will not change the strong relationship, which is a relationship between partners and friends, between Canada and Cuba,” Trudeau said during a ceremony at the University of Havana in the presence of Cuban President Raul Castro.
On his second day in Cuba, Trudeau gave a lecture at the Aula Magna of the University of Havana, and then accepted questions from the students, who mostly focused on international politics.
Trudeau stressed that political and economic relations between Canada and the United States will remain highly interconnected, “regardless of whom the US citizens choose as their president.”
“The relationship between Canada and the United States is deeper than the relationship between a president and a prime minister,” Trudeau told the students.
The Canadian PM said that good relations with the United States were compatible with Canada maintaining strong political and trade ties with Cuba.
“Canada has always been a true and sincere friend of Cuba and we have never seen a contradiction between being great friends of Cuba and being good friends and partners with the United States,” he said.
Canada and Mexico were the only countries in the region that did not support the United States in breaking diplomatic relations after the revolutionary triumph of 1959.
Trudeau rejected the US embargo on Cuba and preferred relations framed in “policies of collaboration”.
Still, he acknowledged that “it is not our job to tell our friends and our partners what to do and what not to do,” he said.
Trudeau’s trip to the island has among its objectives to promote economic relations with Havana.
In 2015, the two countries had an economic exchange of 800 million dollars, making Canada the island’s fourth leading trading partner.
Canadians are number one in sending tourists to the island, with 1.3 million visitors in 2015, representing about 40 percent of the total.
Trudeau’s visit in Havana is the first stop on a tour that also includes Argentina and Peru, where he will attend a summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Association.
Cuban media have highlighted in recent days the close personal ties between his father, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and former Cuban President Fidel Castro during the 1970s.
Under the mandate of the conservative Stephen Harper, several secret meetings were held in Canada that led to the beginning of the “thaw” in late 2014 between Cuba and the United States after over a half century of conflict.