The Miami Herald
April 10, 1999
Dissidents' punishment prompts Canada to review Cuba ties

             OTTAWA -- (AFP) -- Cuba's sentencing of four dissidents to long prison terms
             has prompted Canada to review all its ties with Havana, a Foreign Ministry
             spokesman said Friday.

             Some bilateral projects have been delayed indefinitely, he said.

             Canada intends to maintain ``constructive dialogue'' with Cuba but wants to send a
             clear message that it disapproves of President Fidel Castro's apparent
             unwillingness to accept dissidence in Cuban politics, spokesman Christian
             Girouard said.

             Canada is Cuba's leading economic partner with bilateral trade reaching an
             estimated $485 million in 1998.

             The Foreign Ministry spokesman said an accord signed in 1997 with Cuba is
             currently under review.

             Meanwhile, spokeswoman Cynthia Morel of the Canadian International
             Development Agency said most bilateral development projects with Cuba that are
             in the planning stages have also been postponed.

             The March 16 sentencing to prison of four Cuban dissidents has drawn strong
             criticism from Ottawa, even throwing into question Canada's support for restoring
             Cuban participation in the Organization of American States.

             ``We've indicated that if you're going to be a member of the hemispheric
             community, then you have to play by those rules,'' Foreign Minister Lloyd
             Axworthy said in March, just after the dissidents were sentenced.

             ``The willingness to accept some form of political dissent or difference of opinion is
             one of those rules,'' he said. ``We'll be reviewing some of the discussions we
             started last January about the hemispheric integration.''

             Canadian officials have admitted privately to being embarrassed by the trial of the