Canada involved in lies against Cuba

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The Ottawa government, which maintains cordial relations with Cuba despite the enormous pressure against it from the United States, seems to have given in to the manipulations led by Republican Senator Marco Rubio. He is presented as an exile from Cuba – a country where he was not born and has never visited – to carry out an agenda of dissimulations and lies to Havana´s detriment.


Senator Marco Rubio aspires to be Donald Trump’s replacement in the U.S. presidency. His promoters have prepared an anti-Cuban program for him that is based on the calculation that the next president of the United States will be Latino and Republican. Rubio’s family fled Cuba, it is true, but this happened in 1956, during the bloody tyranny of Fulgencio Batista imposed by the United States in 1952 through a coup d’état and was deposed in 1959 by the popular revolution. He was born in Miami and has never set foot in Cuba. Calling Marco Rubio as Cuban is like defining Donald Trump as European.


Canada established diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1945 and maintained them uninterruptedly after the triumph of the Cuban revolution. Cuba was the first country in the Caribbean region with which Canada exchanged diplomatic missions.


Cuban-Canadian ties were particularly warm in the 1970s and 1980s, during the government of Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, father of the current Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, since November 2015.


Pierre Elliot Trudeau and Fidel Castro had a very close relationship of friendship, solidarity and respect. This was symbolized by the fact that, at the death of the Canadian leader in 2000, Fidel Castro was one of his pallbearers at the state funeral.


In 1994, a joint venture was formed between the Cuban Nickel Union and the Canadian company Sherritt International, which operates a mining and processing plant in Moa, on the eastern tip of the island. A second joint venture, Cobalt Refinery Co. Inc. was established in Alberta, Canada, to refine nickel. Altogether, there are 85 Canadian companies and subsidiaries of various profiles in Cuba.


Canada has consistently criticized the blockade against Cuba and has strongly opposed the extraterritoriality of the Helms-Burton Act.


In 1996, the Godfrey-Milliken Bill was introduced in Canada’s Parliament in rejection of the extraterritoriality of the Helms-Burton Act. It was a law that would have trained some three million Canadians of British Empire loyalist descent who fled the U.S. revolution to demand retribution for property and land confiscated by the U.S. government in the late 16th century as a result of that revolution.


Such a law would have placed a financial burden of many trillions of dollars on a number of large and medium-sized economic entities in the United States, given the current valuation of expropriated property.


The Godfrey-Milliken bill did not become law but resulted in an amendment to the Foreign Extraterritorial Measures Act that effectively neutralized any attempt to impose the Helms Burton Act on Canadians and Canadian entities.


The Canadian government also imposed a $1.5 million fine on any Canadian entity that contributed in any way to the implementation of the Helms Burton Act in Canada.


Canada has also protested against the presence of U.S. agents at Canadian airports trying to catch U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba as tourists in defiance of U.S. blockade laws.


Canada has operated an embassy in Havana since 1945. Cuba has its own in Ottawa and consulates in Toronto and Montreal.


Marco Rubio has declared himself the architect of the current stage of U.S. aggression against Cuba. He´s also the inventor of the hoax of sonic attacks on U.S. diplomats on the island. In this capacity, he advises on the drawing up of lists of Cuban persons and entities that Washington sanctions as violators of the provisions of the U.S. blockade.


It is not easy to understand why the government of Canada, the nation that is the biggest source of tourists to Cuba, could have aligned itself in a campaign against Cuba that has as its axis someone with such a fuller trajectory.


To disavow for security reasons the travel to Cuba of the relatives of Canadian diplomats accredited to the island is extremely strange considering that there has never been any report of a fact indicative of insecurity against any Canadian among the millions who, many years ago, enjoyed the goodness of the Cuban climate and the sincere affection of its people.


April 23, 2018.


Manuel E. Yepe

Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
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