Overwhelmingly, America's neighbours to the north profess strong support for both the reestablishment of U.S. diplomatic ties with Cuba, and the lifting of the U.S. trade embargo against the island nation, according to an Angus Reid Institute survey of Canadians. But there is one thing bothering Canadians about this thaw in near-frozen U.S.-Cuba relations.
Cuba is synonymous with beaches but, on a recent trip to the lush Viñales Valley, white sand was (miraculously!) the furthest thing from our minds. After two days in Havana, a 1950s Chevrolet whisked us west to the tranquil valley, deemed a UNESCO world heritage site for its majestic mogotes (limestone rock formations).
For Iran, the rationale for the long march toward partnership can not be found in strategic alignment or expediency of politics alone, it runs much deeper; for many Iranians, America represents the new world, where individuals thrive on the merit of their skills and character, rather than old world feudal hierarchy.
Fast-forward almost 20 years and my husband and I recently had the opportunity to circumnavigate Cuba aboard the Louis Cristal--a re-purposed Finnish ferry (how very socialist!) now operating as Cuba Cruise. It's a second-year startup by two intrepid Torontonians, one of whom is a harbinger in the cruise industry in Northern Canada.
Driven by the taste for shark fin soup, long line fisherman around the world are eliminating some 100 million sharks per year -- a reduction, in some cases of 90 per cent of the species. Sharks, being apex predators, breed very slowly. The inevitable result of all that fishing is a complete extinction of many shark species within the next ten years according to Sharkwater.com.
Canadian foreign policy has often been said to be principally a policy toward the United States with other countries taking second place politically and strategically. If brokering talks between Havana and Washington was intended by the Harper government to win favour with U.S. leaders, the results were predictably mixed.
When I am nine, my parents and I immigrate to Canada from the wet, hot, and hurricane-ridden island of Cuba. Before May 31, 2002, I have never stepped beyond my beautiful little island, have never seen a landscape without palm trees or the ocean, have never smelt air that isn't rife with humidity with a hint of dog piss, sea salt, and garbage, and I have never wanted to.