Unravelling the Paradox: The Canadian Position on Cuba
The Canadian presence in Cuba is unmistakable. From the moment that one arrives there (either at the new Varadero air terminal or the revamped one in Havana — both built by Canadian companies) it is impossible not to be aware of Canada’s role. Largely it can be seen in the number of holidaymakers (more than 130 000 of whom travelled to Cuba in 1993). Increasingly, however, Canadian inroads are being built in mineral and petroleum production. Also Canadian consumer goods can be spotted in the hard currency shops. At the same time, however, and despite significant changes since the end of the Cold War, Ottawa has done little to amend its official views on the Cuban revolution: bilateral development assistance (cut off in the late 1970s at the time of Cuban incursions into Angola) is still unavailable for Cuba; humanitarian assistance following the March 1993 ‘storm of the century’ was remarkably late arriving; and export trade credits are still obtained with great difficulty by Canadian companies wanting to trade with Cuba.
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