U.S. Codemns Canada For Cuban Relations

In a brief visit that clearly signaled the sharp divisions between the United States and Canada over how to deal with Cuba, Canada’s foreign minister dined with President Fidel Castro and other Cuban officials on Tuesday before signing joint declarations Wednesday on human rights and foreign investment.

In Washington, meanwhile, the State Department condemned the visit by the highest-ranking Canadian to set foot in Cuba in more than 20 years.

The Canadian official, Lloyd Axworthy, who has been a vocal critic of U.S. policy toward Cuba and the Clinton administration’s attempt last year to toughen its longstanding economic embargo by signing the Helms-Burton Act, called the trip the culmination of a year-long series of meetings between senior Canadian and Cuban officials. He said it probably signals even closer relations between the two countries, as Canada tries to play a greater role in the hemisphere.

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