Next week, November 15 – 18, the Rt. Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, will visit with Cuba’s President Raul Castro. Trudeau will be on his first official visit to Cuba since taking office. His official trip will also include a stop in Argentina to visit President Mauricio Macri.
Prime Minister Trudeau said of his upcoming trip, “Cuba and Argentina are two of our closest partners in the hemisphere. I look forward to working with President Castro and President Macri to stimulate more trade and investment with Canada, grow the middle class, and foster closer people-to-people ties for the benefit of all our citizens.”
Canada has maintained relations with Cuba through visits and connections established by Trudeau’s father in previous decades. Raul Castro has met with plenty of other world leaders over the last several years. Both Justin Trudeau and Raul Castro are looking forward to the meeting, to carry on a tradition and working relationship between Canada and Cuba, established previously by Trudeau’s father.
It is a well known fact that the two countries have maintained a working relationship of trade and tourism for decades. Cuba is in a position to improve certain aspects of its economy including health, tourism, and biotechnology sectors. This is a good opportunity for Canada to expand trade with Cuba and for both countries to strengthen trade ties. Both nations seek to collaborate more closely with each other on matters of “sustainable economic growth, inclusive governance, security, climate change, and gender equality,” announced the official press release.
In May of this year, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, made an official visit to Canada meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stéphane Dion. Their meeting included discussions of renewable energy, local governance, cooperation in food security, strong commercial relations and human rights.
Philippe Couillard, Premier of the Province of Québec was in Havana with a large trade mission in September, strengthening existing trade relations between Canada and Cuba. Québec is planning to open a trade office in the city.
The time is right for both leaders to meet and rekindle the kind of relationship their father and older brother shared. There is a well known photo of Fidel holding the older Pierre Trudeau’s infant son, on a three day visit in 1976. At the time, many of Canada’s NATO allies were not pleased with Trudeau’s gesture. However, Cuba and many South American countries are ready to move forward with sustainable economic development.
By meeting with Trudeau, the Cuban leader is showing the world he is willing to negotiate and maintain a relationship that benefits both countries. Canada can benefit from expansion into Cuba and South America as well with the many new technologies in the healthcare and services industries it has to offer.
It was thought the visit may also help relations between the U.S. and Cuba. U.S. president Barack Obama had already made attempts to improve the relationship between the two countries with Canada playing host for the first secret meetings.
The visit presents increased opportunities for Canadian companies looking toward global expansion and entry into Latin American markets. In turn, the Cuban economy benefits by providing workers with increased wages and boosting the Cuban economy.