Fidel Castro attacks Stephen Harper over environmental damage from oilsands [and Canadian mining] – by Oakland Ross (Toronto Star – April 10, 2012)

The Toronto Star, has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

Canada may be Cuba’s leading source of tourists, an important economic partner, and one of just two countries in the region never to have broken off diplomatic ties with the island — the other is Mexico — but Fidel Castro says he doesn’t even know Stephen Harper’s name.
In a column that appeared Monday in Granma, official organ of the Cuban Communist Party, the island’s former ruler says he believes the Prime Minister goes by the name Stephen Harper — but it’s hard to be sure. In other words, Stephen Who?
Devoting his 1,100-word column almost entirely to Canada and its alleged shortcomings, Castro, 85, finds much to criticize and lament about this “beautiful and extensive country.” Are we a colony, a republic, or a kingdom? According to the man with the famous beard, we apparently don’t know ourselves — and neither does he.

Worst of all, however, is the human and environmental damage that Castro says is being inflicted upon many Latin American countries by rapacious Canadian mining companies.
“I became really depressed when I deepened my understanding of the facts about the activities of Canadian transnational companies in Latin America,” writes Castro.
He implies that Canadians, of all people, ought to know better than to exploit the natural and human resources of other countries, considering what the United States is supposedly doing to Canadians.
“I knew about the damage that the yanquis are imposing on the people of Canada,” Castro writes, in reference to the development of the Athabaska oilsands in northern Alberta. “They are obliging the country to seek petroleum, extracting it from large extensions of sand impregnated with this liquid, causing irreparable damage to the environment.”
That experience makes it all the more reprehensible, he suggests, when Canadian mining companies turn around and cause “incredible damage” to “millions of people” in the search for “gold, precious metals, and radioactive material” in Latin America.

For the entire Castro column: