China to Trudeau: 'Don't Become a Laughing Stock' Over Detained Canadian

"No matter how you look at it, Michael Kovrig does not have diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention," said China's Foreign Ministry.

Former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig, being held in China on suspicion of endangering national security, is not entitled to diplomatic immunity, China's foreign ministry said Monday.

RELATED: Huawei Arrest: Canada Faces ‘Serious Consequences’ Says China

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Friday appealed to China over the detention of two Canadians and accused the country of "not respecting the principles of diplomatic immunity" in one of the cases.

Asked about Trudeau's comments, China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that the "relevant Canadian person" should "earnestly study" the Vienna Convention before speaking, so as to "not become a laughing stock."

"No matter how you look at it, Michael Kovrig does not have diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention," she said.

Kovrig is not serving as a diplomat at the moment and had entered China on his most recent trip on a regular passport and business visa, she said.

Kovrig was one of two Canadians detained in China days after the Dec. 1 arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Co, in Vancouver, at the request of the United States.

On Monday,  China urged countries to end "fabrications" about Huawei, after an official in Poland said his country could limit the use of the company's products by public entities following the arrest of a Huawei employee there on spying allegations.

Huawei, the world's biggest producer of telecommunications equipment, faces intense scrutiny in the West over its relationship with China's government and U.S.-led allegations that its devices could be used by Beijing for espionage. No evidence has been produced publicly and Huawei has repeatedly denied the accusations, but several Western countries have restricted Huawei's access to their markets.

The other Canadian held in China is businessman Michael Spavor.

  • Published in World

Canada Looking For A Way Out Of Big Saudi Arms Deal, Says Justin Trudeau

OTTAWA: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking in an interview that aired on Sunday, said for the first time that his Liberal government was looking for a way out of a multibillion-dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

The comments represented a notable hardening in tone from Trudeau, who previously said there would be huge penalties for scrapping the $13 billion agreement for armored vehicles made by the Canadian unit of General Dynamics Corp.

Last month, Trudeau said Canada could freeze the relevant export permits if it concluded the weapons had been misused.

"We are engaged with the export permits to try and see if there is a way of no longer exporting these vehicles to Saudi Arabia," Trudeau told CTV. He did not give further details.

Political opponents, citing the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and Saudi Arabia's involvement in the Yemen war, insist Trudeau should end the General Dynamics deal, which was negotiated by the previous Conservative government.

Relations between Ottawa and Riyadh have been tense since a diplomatic dispute over human rights earlier this year. Ottawa says it has been consulting allies on what steps to take after Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

"The murder of a journalist is absolutely unacceptable and that's why Canada from the very beginning had been demanding answers and solutions on that," said Trudeau.

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Huawei Arrest: Canada Faces ‘Serious Consequences’ Says China

The Chinese vice foreign minister has summoned the Canadian ambassador and warned of the repercussions of not releasing Huawei's CFO.

The Chinese vice foreign minister, Le Yucheng, issued a fresh warning to Canadian authorities demanding the release of Huawei’s CFO, saying there would be “serious consequences” for failing to do so.

RELATED: Huawei CEO Meng Wanzhou Faces Iran Fraud Charges, Court Hears

“China strongly urges the Canadian side to immediately release the detained person...otherwise Canada must accept full responsibility for the serious consequences caused,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry has summoned John McCallum, the Canadian ambassador, to lodge a “strong protest” and voiced its concern and reproach to the western nation for what it called “an act committed by Canada.”   

Ms. Meng Wanzhou is currently under arrest by Canadian authorities at the request of the United States, which alleges she covered up aspects of her family company ties to a firm which soled equipment to Iran, violating sanctions.

On Friday, the CFO attended a Canadian court which adjourned the decision of whether or not to allow bail until Monday.

The Court of British Columbia said Ms Meng used a company subsidiary called skycom to bypass sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States, between 2099 and 2014. The charges are “conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions,” according to a Canadian prosecutor.

If Meng is extradited to the United States, she could be tried and face up to 30 in jail, if found guilty.

The arrest was a serious breach of Ms. Meng's rights, according to the Chinese vice foreign minister. Mr. Le Yucheng, the act “ignored the law, was unreasonable” and it amounted to an “extremely nasty” type of foreign policy.

The arrest of the Chinese business leader comes a time when China and the United States have declared a 'cease-fire' on the tariff war which has put a lot of strain on the relations between the two countries. 

 
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Cuban Foreign Trade Minister visits Canada to expand trade links

Cuba's Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz, is making an official visit to Canada until Thursday, November 22, to participate in official meetings with politicians and representatives of the business sectors in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.

Local media report that the Cuban official will meet with Jim Carr, Minister of International Trade Diversification, and Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development, to discuss the expansion of trade relations, investment and cooperation between the two nations.

Malmierca will also hold meetings with the presidents of the Canadian Senate and House of Commons, George Furey and Geoff Regan, respectively.

The Cuban minister and his delegation will make several presentations on new investment opportunities in Cuba and will hold conversations with executives of Canadian companies with a long presence in Cuba, including Sherritt International, as well as businessmen, officials and academics from the government of Quebec, whose province is Cuba's largest trading partner in Canada.

Canada is Cuba's fourth-largest trading partner in the world, the second-largest investor and the first source of tourists to the island.

  • Published in Cuba

Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa and Kiev hit the streets to demand: Hey Trump! Lift the Blockade on Cuba Now!

For over 56 years, the Cuban people have been enduring an unjust U.S. blockade, which has negatively impacted their daily lives. One example of the cruel effects of the blockade is the damages caused to the Cuban healthcare system. In this sector alone, the monetary damage is estimated at more than $87 million just in one year.

Despite all these challenges and obstacles by the Unitec States, Cuba is world renowned for its universal health care system, which has achieved a lower infant mortality rate than many first world countries, including the United States and Canada!

On December 17, 2014, former U.S. President Barack Obama and former Cuban President Raul Castro made the historic announcement that they would be moving towards normalizing relations. Although positive first steps were made towards lifting the U.S. blockade on Cuba, this progress was stalled under the Obama administration. Now the Trump administration has made efforts to turn back completely the progress made.

Here in Vancouver, after the 2014 announcement Cuba solidarity activists mobilized to protest the U.S. blockade, knowing that a big push of public opinion was needed to keep this momentum going in the right direction. Friends of Cuba Against the U.S. Blockade – Vancouver (FCAB-Van) was formed and started organizing monthly picket actions in front of the U.S. Consulate in downtown Vancouver. Vancouver is now joined by Ottawa and Montreal, Canada and Kiev, Ukraine in united and coordinated monthly actions against this criminal and unjust blockade and demanding that the U.S. return the U.S. occupied territory of Guantanamo to Cuba!

In Vancouver on August 17, 2018, Cuba solidarity activists and their supporters marched in front of the U.S. consulate holding picket signs high and chanting “Hey Trump, Lift the Blockade!” and “Return Guantanamo to Cuba Now!”. Between rounds of picketing, the protesters gathered together to hear from local speakers, as well as to hear a phone message of solidarity from Ottawa Cuba Connections, who also protested that day in front of the U.S. Embassy.

To wrap up the action, protesters gathered together for a photo in front of the U.S. Consulate doors, proudly holding a banner reading “End the Blockade of Cuba!” This photo was shared on Twitter and Facebook around the world to spread the word that supports for Cuba and protest against the blockade is alive and well here in Vancouver!

  • Published in Cuba

MONTHLY PICKET ACTIONS TO END THE U.S. BLOCKADE ON CUBA:

For over 56 years, the Cuban people have been enduring an unjust U.S. blockade which has negatively impacted their daily lives. One example of the cruel effects of the blockade is the damages caused to the Cuban public health system. In this sector along, the monetary damage is estimated at more than $87 million just in one year.

Despite all these challenges, Cuba is world renowned for its healthcare system, which has achieved a lower infant mortality rate than many first world countries, including the United States and Canada.

On August 17, join friends of Cuba around the world, along with the Cuban people, to stand up against continued U.S. attacks on Cuba. From Vancouver, Ottawa and Montreal, Canada and Kiev, Ukraine we will unite our voices demanding an end to the U.S. blockade on Cuba and the full normalization of U.S. - Cuba relations! 

This event will be taking place on the traditional and unceded territories of the Tsleil-Waututh (səl̓ilwətaɁɬ), the Musqueam (xʷməθkʷəy̓əm), and the Squamish (Skwxwú7mesh) Coast Salish Nations. 

> TRUMP HANDS OFF CUBA!
> END THE U.S. BLOCKADE ON CUBA NOW
> RETURN GUANTANAMO TO CUBA NOW!
> U.S. GOVERNMENT STOP THE CAMPAIGN OF ‘REGIME CHANGE’ IN CUBA AND IMMEDIATELY STOP INTERFERING IN CUBA’S SOVEREIGNTY AND SELF-DETERMINATION

  • Published in Cuba

Cuba, Canada to Join Forces to Protect Children

The Cuban Ministry of the Interior (MININT) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police( RCMP) have signed today in Havana a cooperation agreement for the protection of children and adolescents.

The main aim of this document is to strengthen collaboration in preventing and combating criminal activities, including the selling of children, child prostitution and pornography, trafficking and other forms of sexual abuse.

Col. Idais Borges, head of the Minors Directorate, and the General Director of the Canadian Police Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, Marie Claude Arsenault, co-signed the text at the headquarters of the International Relations and Collaboration Directorate of MININT.

According to the Cuban side, the initiative formalizes and expands the actions carried out in two decades in terms of information exchange, development of joint investigations and preparation of police forces.

It also includes the exchange of experience between experts and technologies applied to prevent and combat these crimes.

According to the signatories, the adoption of this arrangement reaffirms the willingness of Cuba and Canada to respect the objectives of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocol.

It also defends the right of children to be protected during their development by family, society and government.

In 1999, Cuba and Canada signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking and in 2003 the Agreement on the sharing of confiscated property or its equivalent funds.

  • Published in Cuba

The baseball stars who ignore MLB to stay loyal to Cuba ... and Canada

Cuban players can make millions if they defect to the United States but others prefer to plot a career path that will keep them close to their families.

Most of the year, Noelvis Entenza pitches in Havana’s historic Estadio Latinoamericano, a ballpark that shakes from the 55,000-capacity crowds and where the buzz of fans’ horns drowns out the players on the field.

But when Entenza’s season ends, he gets on a plane and flies north – to Kitchener, Ontario, where he pitches in front of crowds of a few hundred in a semi-professional baseball league a world away from his life as a star in Cuba’s National Series.

“In Cuba, it’s so crazy. Here, they sit quiet, like in church,” he says, through a translator.

Entenza, a 33-year-old right-hander for the Havana Industriales, is one of four Cubans playing in Canada this summer under a unique agreement with the Cuban baseball federation. While dozens of their former teammates have defected from Cuba in pursuit of millions in Major League Baseball, they’ve chosen to stay loyal to their country.

Entenza, Miguel Lahera, Jonder Martinez and Yorbis Borroto, all veterans from Cuba’s national team, play for the Kitchener Panthers of the Intercounty Baseball League. But while they’re good enough to pursue much bigger paychecks in the US, they say there’s more at stake than just money.

“It’s a decision each person has to make. Every one is different,” said Entenza, who has watched teammates from Jose Abreu to Yasiel Puig to Lourdes Gurriel Jr flee for riches in the MLB.

These players, meanwhile, say they’re happy to be allowed to play abroad, without breaking any laws. After their season in Canada ends, they’ll return home to their families, and their respective Cuban teams.

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“Playing in the MLB is the dream, but we want to play legally,” said Borroto. “We play for our family and our country. To play for a million dollars and be away from Cuba, that’s a big change … We feel good to play in Cuba.”

Two years ago, there were great hopes things were improving. MLB and Cuba were discussing ways for Cuban players to sign with big league teams without having to defect. President Obama went to Havana to watch a game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team. Lahera, Martinez and Borroto all played in that game, and say they felt they were close to something historic.

“It was very emotional,” said Lahera, who has also pitched for Cuba in the Olympics and World Baseball Classic. “I was proud to know we could play with major league players.”

“We came here because it’s a new experience. We wanted to show other countries that Cuban baseball is a good quality,” said Borroto, who plays for the Ciego de Avila Tigres in Cuba. “We wanted to get experience from another country and learn a different style to play.”

By coming to Canada, the four Cubans hope they’re starting something bigger, something that could eventually lead to other Cubans playing legally in the MLB.

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