Cuba Politics

Canada ready to broker Cuba US relations dialogue

Posted February 17, 2007 by publisher in Cuba Politics.

Tim Harper

Canada is prepared to draw on its long relationship with Cuba to act as a “bridge” between Washington and Havana in the post-Castro era, Michael Wilson says.

Wilson, who is approaching his first anniversary as Canadian ambassador here, said in an interview yesterday he is acting on a mandate from Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who wants Ottawa to become more active diplomatically in the Western Hemisphere.

“That’s our neighbourhood,” Wilson said.

He said Canada has developed relations not only with officials in Fidel Castro’s government, but also members of the island’s fragmented opposition groups, and Ottawa has pushed Havana to release political prisoners and open its economy.

Canada can also draw on its business investments and tourism spending in Cuba to curry influence, the former Conservative cabinet minister said.

“We have a dialogue, and that is different from the United States because they have nothing like this type of dialogue,” Wilson said.

“Because of that dialogue, we have an understanding of how Cuba thinks. We also have an understanding of how Washington thinks. Cuba sees us as a North American country with which they can have some sort of dialogue.

“We can build a greater understanding between the two countries.”

Member Comments

On February 18, 2007, J. Perez wrote:

An important and respected ally such as Canada would be a great help to help
brokering a greater understanding between the two countries, unfortunately, however, it is difficult that much can be accomplished while we have the present crowd at the White House. It is nonetheless a noble gesture in the part of Canada.

On February 19, 2007, Maplerum wrote:

I was able to get a copy of the original article that appeared in the Toronto Star. Of note that many might find interesting was Michael Wilson’s perspective of how Canada sees the realistic change to Cuba. Canada forsees Cuba transitioning under Raul after Fidel’s death. The Americans are preparing for a mass exodus and are making plans including the new construction of holding pens at Guantanamo Bay. I must make many Americans aware that the Cuban citizens are very proud and educated. Please give them this credit and let them peacefully transition into something new and better. Let them retain what is good such as schools for all and hospitals rather than expensive private schools and private hospitals. Many of the bad aspects of a capitolist society elsewhere in Latin America don’t exist in Cuba. Latin America is becoming a very dangerous place the more that people see what they don’t have. In Cuba, everyone has nothing and everything at the same time. A peaceful and non-violent society and of course family and friends. Americans need to understand the good in Cuba and if they do, then they will agree that a peaceful transition is the way to go.

On February 19, 2007, John Kay wrote:

There is an opportunity that should not be wasted. The old solutions when applied to latin america clearly do not work. Cuba has proven her proven her dignity, extended her selflesness, expressed her willingness.  Let’s do it right.