Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said last Friday after meeting with her Cuban counterpart, Bruno Rodríguez, that the island “will have a role to play” in Venezuela’s political future.
After the meeting in Toronto between Freeland and Rodríguez, the second held by the two ministers to talk about Venezuela in less than a month, the head of Canadian diplomacy described the conversation as “very good” and “productive”.
During a press conference Freeland said that they talked about the role that Cuba can play to resolve the situation in Venezuela, and added that Canada applauds Cuba’s willingness to discuss this political, economic and humanitarian crisis with them.
The official also said that her country believes that the positions of the Lima Group, which the Canadian authorities have led since its inception, and of the International Contact Group (ICG), promoted by the European Union, are getting closer.
She said that they are witnessing an international convergence on the need for a peaceful transition in Venezuela that involves free and fair elections and the return of democracy.
Cuba will have a role to play and it is something that I have discussed extensively today with Minister Rodríguez. It has been a productive conversation and we are committed to keeping this dialogue open, she continued.
During the press conference, in which Rodriguez did not participate, Freeland said that Cuba has a different position and that is one of the reasons why it is important to talk with Cuba.
She added that Canada has historical and deep connections with Cuba, and they believe this strong relationship with Cuba can be a way of talking about the Venezuelan crisis from two very different perspectives. That is the particular value of these talks between Canada and Cuba on Venezuela, she affirmed.
Freeland also assured that she addressed with Rodríguez the activation by U.S. President Donald Trump of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, and that Canada will defend its companies operating in Cuba.
We have met with some of the Canadian companies that operate in Cuba; I reiterated to my Cuban colleague, and have told the Canadian companies, that the government of Canada has always supported and will continue to support Canadians and Canadian companies that conduct legitimate business with Cuba, she said.
She added that Canada clearly opposes any extraterritorial application of laws and that it is defending its companies and doing everything it can to help them. And she concluded by saying that there are long-time solid legislative bases to provide support to Canadian companies that continue to do business in Cuba.