Trudeau and Castro’s Relationship: Canada Cuts Foreign Aid to Cuba to Protest Mercenary Role in Africa (1978)
Canada has cut its aid to Cuba. The had previously been channeled through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Two years ago, the Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre Trudeau, visited Cuba – a trip many saw as indicative of the two leaders sharing a common ideology on issues. The P.M. was amused by communism in Cuba and bellowed “Viva Cuba!” in what seemed like support of Castro’s leadership. The visit was a turn off to American officials, who found it ill-conceived. The reason for such aversion has been one of the predicaments facing Canada under the leadership of Trudeau. Under Trudeau’s leadership, Canada has, now and again, been in a diplomatically tight spot with U. S due to Cuba’s alignment with the Soviet Union and the island nation’s domestic abuse of human rights. Nonetheless, even after the Cold War, Canada has continued to support Cuba with aid and bilateral trade. Have the cordial relations with Cuba helped in reforming Castro’s leadership, and what has been governing Canada’s dealing with Cuba?
The era of Prime Minister Trudeau and his friendship with the Cuban president Fidel Castro has been extensively credited for the fostering of a strong bilateral relationship. In the past, there has been a stable alliance between Cuba and Canada. Could this be due to a dominant and sustained Canadian foreign policy, and mutual proximity to the United States? A soft and communicative engagement policy has had little effect on bringing any real reformation to Castro’s dictatorial leadership. Cuba has been involved in the Angolan Civil war and provided military support and mercenary training to those allied to the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola. Castro’s decision went against international law and ensured a drawn out war, worsening human rights abuse and suffering in the region. Supporting Cuba through CIDA has now been condemned internationally, forcing Trudeau to cease official aid to the small communist country, though not necessarily halting relations.
Indeed, Trudeau’s trip to Cuba in 1976 cemented a connection between the two countries. Due to differences in political ideologies between Canada, a liberal democracy, and Cuba, a communist state, the two countries have had a share of differences. Even so, Canada’s recent policy has been to deal with Cuba through moderate and unruffled methods. The actions of communicative engagement in Canada’s foreign policy have enabled the two countries to deal with each other respectfully. Moreover, Canada has championed for good governance in support of human rights, and thus Trudeau’s move to cut aid is supportive of the country’s foreign policy. On the other hand, one could argue that Canada’s foreign policy and support has been influenced by the U. S., as mentioned in a 1969 press briefing on the Canadian policy. In the briefing, the P. M. had referred to U.S as an elephant, referring to the superpower with influence and a neighborhood effect to Canada.
Nonetheless, Canada’s move has shown consistency in the human rights approach. Probably, Trudeau’s government has not liked Castro’s meddling in Angola because he did not like involvement in foreign conflicts. When Trudeau ascended to the Canadian seat of power in 1968, the year after he quickly withdrew a significant number of the Canadian troops from NATO and Europe. Such a move might help illuminate the motivation behind Trudeau’s detest of Castro’s close-fisted approach to foreign conflicts.