Canada’s Time in Latin America

Nov 11 2016 Voces

The liberal values of free trade and multiculturalism might be in retreat in the United States after the election of Donald Trump, but they are alive and well in Canada. A year after taking office, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will visit Cuba and Argentina beginning on November 15, before attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Lima, Peru. This trip is an opportunity for Canada to increase its standing in Latin America, and for Trudeau to promote the principles and interests of his country –the world’s 10th largest economy– in the hemisphere.

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Why Canada should work to strengthen its ties to Mexico

A former diplomat, Colin Robertson is vice-president and fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.
The Trudeau Government should prioritize its strategic partnership with Mexico. The June visit of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to Quebec City, Toronto and Ottawa set a plan for closer collaboration. Both nations need to deliver on specific initiatives, especially those that emphasize our people-to-people ties.
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Minister Dion to travel to Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras

October 10, 2016 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada
The Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced that he will travel to Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras from October 12 to 14, 2016.
While in Mexico, Minister Dion will attend the first Canada-Mexico High-Level Strategic Dialogue as part of Canada’s renewed partnership with Mexico. Minister Dion will also meet with Claudia Ruiz Massieu, Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs, to discuss how to strengthen the ties between the two countries.
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What does “Canada is back” mean in the Americas?

By Stephen Baranyi*
Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau and his cabinet ministers’ statements following their election in October 2015 that “Canada is back” reflect a global strategy that is likely to give a boost to Canada-Latin America relations.  Canada never “left” the Americas during the decade of Conservative governments led by Prime Minister Harper, but the new administration is patching up its predecessors’ mixed record.  Building on the Americas Strategy launched in 2007, Ottawa signed new bilateral free trade agreements with Colombia, Peru and others; broadened its engagement in regional security affairs; and greatly increased its whole-of-government engagement in Haiti.  Canada played a major role at the Summit of the Americas in Panama (April 2015) and hosted the Pan American Games (July 2015).  Yet the revelation of Canada’s espionage in Brazil, visa restrictions on Mexicans, the poor reputation of some Canadian mining firms in the region, and its inability to reach a trade agreement with the Caribbean Community fed a growing desencanto in Canada’s relations with the region.
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The peace deal between the Colombian government and the FARC: can Canada play a role?

PUBLISHED : Monday, Sept. 26, 2016 12:05 PM
On August 24 2016, after nearly four years of negotiations in Havana, Cuba, the Colombian government and the left-wing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) formally announced they had reached a peace agreement, the content of which would to be submitted to popular vote through a plebiscite scheduled for October 2. Provided the peace deal is endorsed in the ballot box, members of the FARC would be expected to start demobilizing before the end of the year.
On Monday, Sept. 26, Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion will travel to Cartagena to witness the historical signing of the peace deal. 
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Will Canada speak up for the disappeared in Mexico?

Kathy Price
It was an arresting image: two smiling heads of state jogging together across an Ottawa bridge in shorts and t-shirts.
Justin Trudeau’s much-photographed run with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto during Nieto’s state visit to Canada in June was meant to convey an important message. Canada has a close friendship with Mexico, the PM has said on several occasions, describing it as a partnership based on shared values and cemented through new agreements for collaboration, not to mention growing trade and investment.
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He was an unlikely pick for president. How will Pedro Pablo Kuczynski govern Peru?


Alberto Fujimori is remembered as a grass-roots politician who waged a violent counterinsurgency campaign against Maoist rebels known as the Shinning Path and tamed crippling hyperinflation in the ’90s. He was also responsible for encouraging large-scale mining projects in conjunction with foreign conglomerates through mining-friendly legislation and a near-zero royalties policy. The mining and resource extraction sector now makes up for the bulk of the Peruvian economy.

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Canada-Cuba Relations Poised for Progress under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

By John M. Kirk*

After a decade of ignoring Cuba under the government led by Stephen Harper, Canada is on the cusp of an era of a significant improvement in bilateral relations with the island.  Many constants supporting this longstanding relationship remain: Canada, along with Mexico, was the only country in the Western Hemisphere not to break relations with revolutionary Cuba in 1962; Pierre Trudeau was the first leader of a NATO country to visit Cuba (1976) and developed a strong friendship with Fidel Castro (who was an honorary pall-bearer at his funeral); Canadians make up the largest tourist group (1.3 million a year) there; and the largest single foreign investor in Cuba is the Canadian firm Sherritt International.

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Canada commits $57-million to support peace process in Colombia

OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Jul. 04, 2016 7:35PM EDT
Last updated Monday, Jul. 04, 2016 8:39PM EDT
Canada is committing nearly $60-million to help support the implementation of Colombia’s peace process after the government and the country’s largest rebel group recently agreed to a historic ceasefire to end one of the world’s longest-running wars.
Although International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau says Canada supports the peace process between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as FARC, she sidestepped endorsing the guerrilla group’s eventual formation of a political party. As a part of the final deal, FARC will demobilize and form a left-wing political party after the peace process is complete
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Canada in the Hemisphere Perspective Paper

APRIL 24, 2015 BY CCA ADMIN, Pacific Alliance whitepaper, Barbara Kotschwar, Research Fellow – Peterson Institute for International Economics, Washington, DC
What does the Pacific Alliance mean for Canadian Trade and Investment?
Spanish news on the launch of CCA Perspective Paper on the Pacific Alliance, click here for the article on Notimex
Americas Business Dialogue August Newsletter focused on the Pacific Alliance highlights the CCA Perspective Paper on the Pacific Alliance to view the newsletter click here
Download the paper: CCA_Perspective Paper_Pacific Alliance 2015
Ms. Kotschwar’s research focuses on trade, investment and regional integration. She was previously Chief of the Foreign Trade Information Systems at the Organization of American States and Senior Trade Specialist during the FTAA negotiations. Barbara has advised Latin American and Caribbean governments on trade-related issues.
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How many more must die in Honduras?

Environmentalists’ deaths should be wake-up call to investor countries like Canada.
Amnesty International Photo
Slain Honduran indigenous leader Berta Cáceres, left. 
Alex Neve
Published: Wednesday, 03/30/2016 12:00 am EDT
Last Updated: Tuesday, 04/05/2016 8:47 pm EDT


There is a deadly crisis in Honduras, the tiny but resource-rich Central American country with which Canada is linked via a free trade agreement negotiated in the violence-filled aftermath of a coup d’état.

Why is Ottawa dragging its heels on the Mexican visa?

Mexico’s former Ambassador to Canada, Francisco Suárez Dávila, says Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto will likely refuse to attend Justin Trudeau’s proposed North American Leaders' Summit this summer unless the visa requirement on Mexico is revoked — a promise Trudeau and members of his cabinet have reiterated several times since forming government.

“I find it very difficult to concede that President Peña will come to Canada if he has to subject himself to the visa requirement,” Suárez said in an interview from Mexico City, where he retired following the end of his Canadian post in December. “It's a pity because we really could be in the beginning of a golden age of a really grand relationship.”

Canada to Resolve Visa Impasse With Mexico

Business leaders in both countries have opposed current restrictions
Jan. 29, 2016 6:24 p.m. ET
OTTAWA—Canada’s Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion said Friday a long-standing dispute with Mexico over visa restrictions would be resolved shortly.
Mr. Dion made the remarks at a news conference following a meeting in Quebec City with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Mexican Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu.

Indigenous Rights Under Attack: Canadian economic and political interests over human rights in Honduras

Canadian Dimension
No one defending their land and territory in Honduras is safe. That was the message that rang loud and clear after Berta Cáceres was murdered in her home on March 3. Cáceres, an Indigenous Lenca woman, mother and grandmother was founder of the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), and worked tirelessly to protect communities at risk of eviction and relocation because of large scale projects that put their lives and livelihoods at risk. Despite being internationally recognized, most recently after winning the 2015 Goldman Prize, Berta was killed in her home by unknown gunmen. Her Mexican friend and colleague, Gustavo Castro, founder and director of Chiapas-based Otros Mundos (Other Worlds/Friends of the Earth Mexico), was also wounded in the attack. At the time of her murder, Berta was the beneficiary of precautionary measures ordered by the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights - an order with which the Honduran State did not comply.

Another Indigenous Leader Killed in Honduras, Canadian Organizations say Enough is Enough

(Montreal/Toronto/Ottawa) Today, fifty Canadian organizations and networks sent a letter calling on the Canadian Government to pressure Honduran authorities and review Canadian foreign policy after another member of Berta Cáceres’ organization was murdered this week.
On Tuesday, Nelson Noé García Laínez from the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) was murdered in the community of Río Chiquito. The Indigenous leader was on his way home from helping a group of families that government security forces had just violently evicted when he was shot dead in the face by two unknown gunmen.   

Blood flows where Canadian capital goes

By: Tyler Shipley Posted: 03/6/2016 3:00 AM
Honduran indigenous leader and activist Berta Cáceres was slain last Thursday.  In the early hours of Thursday morning, assassins broke into the home of an indigenous Lenca community leader in western Honduras and killed her.  Berta Cáceres was 47 years old and was one of the best-known and most respected leaders in Honduras. Her life had been threatened countless times, she had been harassed by the national police, and she had been physically attacked on several occasions. Now, she has paid the ultimate price for opposing a military dictatorship that isn’t afraid of international censure.  The current government of Honduras — the product of a 2009 military coup — has singled out Canada as one of its closest friends. Canada worked hard in the aftermath of the coup to help the new regime rebuild its reputation, and Canada has consistently downplayed the government’s role in the human rights crisis in Honduras that has made it the most dangerous country — with the highest homicide rate — in the world.  Why would we do this? Isn’t this contrary to Canadian values?

Engagement and Pragmatism: Towards an Enduring Canadian Strategy in Latin America

by Eric Miller
4 February 2016 – Ottawa, ON – The University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy and the Canadian Global Affairs Institute released a report today, “Engagement and Pragmatism: Towards an Enduring Canadian Strategy in Latin America”.

This new paper argues that in a time of renewal of Canadian foreign policy, there is a great opportunity for Canada to strengthen its engagement in Latin America, and in doing so revitalize relations in North America as well.

Stéphane Dion to host Mexican, U.S. counterparts


Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion will host his U.S. and Mexican counterparts for a day of discussions Friday in what the Liberal government hopes will be a precursor to the first Three Amigos leaders’ summit in Canada in nearly a decade. 

The environment will officially top the agenda when Dion meets with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Mexican Foreign Affairs Secretary Claudia Ruiz Massieu in Quebec City. That includes devising a North American approach to climate change, and discussing how to turn the continent into a hub for clean energy.