The following are highlights from Cuban Ambassador Josefina Vidal‘s speech at the Cuban Embassy in Ottawa on January 30. The event was a celebration of Cuba’s national day, the 61st anniversary of the Revolution and 75 years of the Canada-Cuba relationship:
The year, “2020 will mark an important moment in Cuba-Canada ties. On March 16th, we will celebrate the 75th anniversary of uninterrupted diplomatic relations between the two countries, which have stood the proof of time since they were established in 1945.
“Cuba-Canada relations have considerably developed in the last 60 years. Diplomatic and commercial ties have grown stronger, but most importantly, the friendship between both peoples has been nurtured and strengthened.
“Today we can exhibit a mature relationship, which allows us to work together on issues of mutual interest to strengthen our relations, and to hold respectful and constructive discussions on how to address and face common challenges, bilateral and international, on which we may have coincidences or even different opinions and approaches.
“Our relationship is a good model of the links that can exist between two countries with different political, social and economic systems at different stages of development.
“Cuba looks forward to seeing Canada becoming a key player in the development of the island´s economy in the coming years. There are conditions for this to happen, given the stability in our bilateral relations and the business opportunities that the Canadian and the Cuban market offer today.
“60 years ago, Canada stood by the side of Cuba and became a key alternative market, when the United States severed relations in 1961 and, when a year later, it imposed on us the most severe and prolonged system of unilateral sanctions ever applied against any country. Cubans will always remember with gratitude John Diefenbaker government’s resolve, which along with Mexico, were the only ones not breaking ties with Cuba then.
“We are sure that now, when the United States tries to suffocate us, under false pretexts and ignoring the lessons of history and its repeated failures, Canada, like the overwhelming majority of the countries of the world, will again remain on the side of Cuba, which is the side of reason.”