EFE (via 14ymedio), Toronto, 25 November 2022 — Canada communicated to Cuba its “great concern” about the “violent repression” of the protests on the Island and condemned the sentences against the protesters of July 11, 2021, but did not indicate whether it will sanction the Cuban regime, as human rights organizations have requested.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Canada told EFE that it has transmitted “to the highest levels” of the Cuban regime its concern about the repression against protesters, journalists and activists, and that it condemns the “hard sentences” of the 11J protesters, up to 13 years in prison, according to the ruling leaked this month.
“Canada will continue to raise its concerns to Cuban officials about human rights violations,” the spokeswoman for the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sabrina Williams, told EFE.
Williams also confirmed that senior Canadian officials met with the NGO Democratic Spaces, which on November 14, together with the Cuba Decide organization, requested sanctions by Ottawa against Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, senior officials and other entities of the regime for human rights violations.
The spokeswoman did not indicate whether Canada will sanction the Cuban regime, but added that the Canadian government considers it important to “provide a voice for human rights defenders and better understand their concerns and also to express them to Cuban officials.”
Michael Lima, a human rights activist and director of Democratic Spaces, confirmed to EFE that he met with senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on November 16, and said that, although Ottawa has not announced sanctions against the regime, he detected a change in mentality in the Canadian authorities.
“We are pleased that Canada understands that Cuba is a dictatorship, one of the oldest in the world, and that there needs to be justice. I liked seeing the change of mentality in Canadian government officials, who understand that human rights are systematically violated in Cuba,” he said.
Lima blamed Canada’s different attitude towards countries such as Venezuela, Nicaragua and Iran, to which Ottawa has applied sanctions similar to those requested against Cuba, in the absence of information about what is happening in the country.
“We are asking for uniformity in (Canadian) foreign policy,” he explained.
The director of Democratic Spaces believes that the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, “admires” the Cuban regime for the friendship between Fidel Castro and his father, Pierre Trudeau, who led Canada twice, first from 1968 to 1979 and later from 1980 to 1984.
“And if the prime minister has that position, it influences the formulation of foreign policy,” he said.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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