Friday, May 29, 2009

Cuban cha cha

Ok, we don't want to tell Cuba what to do, but we want them back in the OAS, but only if they are (sort of) nice to dissidents, but we have a long relationship with Cuba ...

Really, I don't mind a cautious approach to a totalitarian state -- engagement is often wise -- but we should try to be coherent.

We just look weak and incoherent.

The Canadian Press
Thu 28 May 2009
Section: National General News

OTTAWA_ Canada would ``love'' Cuba to rejoin the Organization of American States, says junior foreign minister *Peter* *Kent*.

The statement is a shift from the more circumspect position the Conservative government has taken recently toward lifting the 47-year-old suspension on the communist nation.

Kent, minister of state for the Americas, will represent Canada at the OAS general assembly in Honduras next week.

``Canada's position is that like virtually every member of the OAS, we would love to see Cuba re-enter hemispheric affairs at all levels,'' Kent said Thursday.

But he added that re-entry will be conditional on upholding the tenets of the InterAmerican Democratic Charter, including the protection of human rights and respect for the rule of law.

Canada will back a last-minute U.S. resolution to open a dialogue with Cuba about its ``eventual reintegration'' into the inter-American system.

Kent will push for members to come to a consensus on issues, rather than hold tension-filled votes.

Canada-Cuba relations have experience a chill over the past couple of months.

A trip Kent had scheduled to Havana for mid-May was abruptly cancelled by the Cubans after Prime Minister Stephen Harper described himself as a ``anti-communist Conservative,'' and Kent said publicly that he would press the government on human rights.

Kent said reports of a rift were exaggerated, and that's he's working on a new date for the trip.

``Canada does not want to impose anything on Cuba,'' Kent said.

``We've got a more than six-decade old relationship, we are dealing with the government of Cuba on any number of levels...We're simply prepared to assist in any way that we can to Cuba's re-entry into affairs of the hemisphere at any level.''

James Morton
1100-5255 Yonge Street
Toronto, Ontario
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