Canada’s quiet complicity in the US government’s latest attempt to strangle Cuba with sanctions and invocation of Title 3, the extra-territorial section of the Helms-Burton Act, makes Canada an active participant in the US drive to overthrow the government of Cuba.
The US fixation on Cuba is well-known around the world, and in particular the aggressive stance of the current US President; but Canada’s aggressive new role is not understood, nor supported by a majority of Canadians.
Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau developed a two-track foreign policy for Canada, that sharply diverged from the US policy towards Cuba. Instead of illegal wars, invasions, biological warfare, and a 58 year old economic embargo all aimed to overthrow the Cuban government, Canada opened up diplomatic relations, trade, tourism, and cultural exchanges that have made Cuba a favourite destination for over a million Canadian tourists annually.
Until Canada shut down significant parts of its Embassy services in Havana last year, there were extensive cultural and educational exchange programs, as well as services to Canadian businesses such as Sherritt International working in Cuba
The shutdown of Embassy services coincides with the US administration’s characterization of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua as “the troika of tyranny” that Trump announced he intends to “straighten out”.
In the year since, this “straightening out” of Cuba has included threats to countries and companies trading with Cuba, including legal action against them under Title 3 of the Helm’s Burton Act, which aims to enforce US laws ‘extra-territorially’ on other countries, peoples, and businesses. This has included interference with Cuba’s international trade, and with the delivery of goods to Cuba including a plane-load of COVID-19 medical supplies sent from China last month, but never delivered. The airline company was threatened with legal action by the US and as a result, declined to deliver the needed medical supplies.
The “straightening out” of Venezuela today involves the massing of US warships off the coast of Venezuela, in preparation for an invasion and overthrow of an elected government.
These actions by the US are illegal under international law, and are criminal acts of war.
The current Prime Minister Trudeau has taken Canada down a very dangerous path by lining up our foreign policy in lock-step with the current far-right US administration. The world knows the great danger that this administration poses to peace and international security, to sovereignty and the right of nations and peoples to self-determination, and to the continued existence of the United Nations itself.
Canada must reverse course and condemn these illegal acts of war against Cuba and Venezuela, and demand an end to the punishing sanctions on both countries, an end to the six decade long US blockade against Cuba, and an end to the extra-territorial judicial claims of the US government.
US imperialism threatens all of the countries of the world, including Canada, with its wars and aggression around the world. Canada must become a strong voice for peace, disarmament, mutual security, and climate justice.