Canada–Venezuela relations

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Canadian-Venezuelan relations
Map indicating locations of Canada and Venezuela

Canada

Venezuela

Canada–Venezuela relations have been on good terms since the establishment of diplomatic relationship between the two countries in the 1950s. Those relations however began to sour under Conservative Prime Minister Harper and President Hugo Chávez, and became sour under Liberal Prime Minister Trudeau (2015- ) and especially his Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland (2017 - ). Over the past few years, Canada has stepped out of its comfort zone in hemispheric affairs, to speak and act forcefully, as Minister Freeland put it, in solidarity with "the people of Venezuela and their desire to restore democracy and human in Venezuela". On January 23rd, 2019, Minister Freeland issued the statement that “Canada recognizes Juan Guaidó, President of the National Assembly, as the interim President of Venezuela." On that occasion she called the Nicolás Maduro government "despicable". [1]Ottawa imposed targeted sanctions (under the Special Economic Measures Act and the new Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act) against 70 Maduro government officials. Canada has sanctions and related measures in place against nineteen other countries in the world, but only against Venezuela in the southern hemisphere.

History

In February 1948, there was a Canadian Consulate General in Caracas and a Venezuelan Consulate General in Montreal. In that year, the Venezuelan Consul General, on behalf of the government of Venezuela, made a rapprochement with Canada in order to open direct diplomatic representations between the two countries;[2] but the Canadian government delayed the opening of a diplomatic mission in Venezuela because of the lack of enough suitable personnel for the manning of a Canadian mission in Venezuela and the impossibility of Canada beginning a representation in Venezuela in that year without considering a policy of expansion of Canadian representation abroad.[3]In the interest of protecting Canadian trade with Venezuela and considering the difficulties for business in being without a Canadian representation in Caracas, Canada was pushed to accept the Venezuelan offer of exchanging diplomatic missions.[4] Finally, Canada elevated the former office of the Canadian Consulate General in Caracas to the category of embassy in 1953.[5]

On the other hand, Venezuela established an embassy in Canada in 1952.[6] Since then, there have been good commercial relations between the two countries, especially in technology, oil and gas industry, telecommunications and others.

In December 2006, Hugo Chavez was re-elected President of Venezuela with 61% of the vote, originally being first elected in 1998. A number of national and international observers were on hand for the elections, including an OAS Electoral Observation Mission (EOM), to which Canada contributed $110,000. Five Canadians were members of the EOM. Some irregularities were noted by the EOM, especially with regard to polling station closing times, but the EOM described the conduct of the election as generally satisfactory. Canada continues to support democratic reform and human rights in Venezuela while maintaining good bilateral relations. Canada continues to support civil society organizations that are working in the areas of democracy and human rights in Venezuela.

On 8 August 2017, Ministers and Representatives from Canada and 11 other nations met in Lima, Peru to establish The Lima Group in order to peacefully end the ongoing Crisis in Venezuela.[7]

On January 23 2019, President of the National Assembly Juan Guaidó was sworn in as the interim President of Venezuela after the National Assembly declared the results of the 2018 Venezuelan presidential election to be invalid, challenging the Incumbent President, Nicolás Maduro, leading to the ongoing presidential crisis.[8] On the same day, the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland recognized and endorsed Guaidó's position at the interim President of Venezuela. The statement included that "Canada rejects the Maduro regime’s illegitimate claim to power and has called upon Nicolás Maduro to cede power to the democratically elected National Assembly".[9]

In a Lima Group Summit held in Ottawa on February 4, 2019, Canada's Federal Government pledged 53 million dollars of aid to Venezuela.[10] In June 2019, the Canadian government closed its resident embassy in Caracas as a result of diplomatic visas unable to be renewed under President Maduro's government.[11]

Trade

Venezuela is Canada's second largest export market in South America for goods as well as for services.[12] In 2006, goods exports from Canada increased by 14% and the cumulative stock of Canadian investments in Venezuela amounted to $574 million.[13]

In 2004, Canada was Venezuela's third export destination (2.5%) after the United States (58.7%) and the Netherlands Antilles (4.1%).[14] But in 2006, China took the place of Canada as the third export destination of Venezuela because of the increasing political and economical partnership between Venezuela and China.[15]

Also in 2004, Venezuela exported to Canada mineral fuels, oils and product of their distillation (85%); iron and steel (5%); fertilizers (2%); and inorganic chemicals (3%). On the other hand, Canada exported to Venezuela cereals (35%); machineries, engines, boilers, and mechanical appliances (12%); paper and paperboard, art of paper pulp (13%); and parts and accessories for vehicles and railway (10%).[16]

Canada and Venezuela signed a Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (FIPA). Besides, a Double Taxation Agreement was done and come into force in 1998 and in 2005.[17]

Preservation of Indigenous communities

Canada supports Venezuelan efforts on the field of indigenous affairs, especially through the use of the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives.[18] Examples of help with the fund are:

Migration

Immigration from Venezuela to Canada has been increasing through the years. The primary reasons for that migration include the persistent poverty and political instability in Venezuela. Many Venezuelan immigrants belong to the middle and upper classes and have university degree, work experience and command of other languages.[19] Some Venezuelan oil specialists immigrated to the province of Alberta between 2002 and 2004 after a strike in the Venezuelan oil sector.[20]

'Number of Venezuelans living in Canada from 1961 to 2003'

There were 270 Venezuelans living in Canada before 1961. Between 1961 and 1980, the number was still small. Since then the amount has been increasing.[21]

In 2007, the number of Venezuelans living in Canada was 20,000.[22]

Sources

  1. ^ Grenier, Yvon (2019-06-26). "Canadá y la crisis de Venezuela". OASIS (30): 55–75. doi:10.18601/16577558.n30.04. ISSN 2346-2132.
  2. ^ Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada Documents on Canadian External Relations Accessed 17 December 2007
  3. ^ Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada Documents on Canadian External Relations Accessed 17 December 2007
  4. ^ Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada Documents on Canadian External Relations Accessed 17 December 2007
  5. ^ The Canadian Embassy in Venezuela Bilateral Relations Archived 2008-05-03 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 17 December 2007
  6. ^ Embassy of Venezuela in Canada "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-12-07. Retrieved 2007-12-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Accessed 18 December 2007
  7. ^ Government of Canada, Global Affairs Canada (2017-12-07). "Lima Declaration". GAC. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  8. ^ Daniels, Joe Parkin (2019-01-23). "Venezuela: who is Juan Guaidó, the man who declared himself president?". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  9. ^ Canada, Global Affairs; Canada, Global Affairs (2019-01-24). "Canada recognizes the interim President of Venezuela". gcnws. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  10. ^ Feb 04, John Paul Tasker · CBC News · Posted; February 4, 2019 4:00 AM ET | Last Updated. "Canada pledges $53M to help Venezuelan refugees as Lima Group allies meet to discuss 'dictator' Maduro | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2019-03-19.
  11. ^ Canada closes its embassy in Venezuela
  12. ^ The Canadian Embassy in Venezuela –The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service in Caracas [1] Archived 2002-10-16 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 18 December 2007
  13. ^ The Canadian Embassy in Venezuela –The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service [2] Archived 2002-10-16 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 18 December 2007
  14. ^ Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada Economic Profile – Venezuela - Economic Structure (based on the CIA World Factbook, July 2005) Archived 2008-01-02 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 18 December 2007
  15. ^ CIA World Factbook Venezuela Accessed 18 December 2007
  16. ^ Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada Economic Profile - Venezuela Archived 2008-01-02 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 18 December 2007
  17. ^ Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada Economic Profile - Venezuela Archived 2008-01-02 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 18 December 2007
  18. ^ The Canadian Embassy in Venezuela – Aboriginal Planet Venezuela - Canada Aboriginal Overview[permanent dead link] Accessed 17 December 2007
  19. ^ BBC NewsSite profits from Venezuelan exodus (24 July 2002). Accessed 18 December 2007
  20. ^ Dinero Talento local apuesta por otros mercados Accessed 17 December 2007 (in Spanish)
  21. ^ Amitiés Québec-Venezuela ¿Cuántos venezolanos hay en Canadá y en Québec? Archived 2007-11-21 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 17 December 2007 (in Spanish)
  22. ^ La voz de Galicia Los venezolanos prefieren Estados Unidos y España, pero cada vez salen más hacia Canadá (24 November 2007). Accessed 17 December 2007 (in Spanish)