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Canada - Venezuela Relations

Canada and Venezuela have shared unbroken diplomatic relations since February 1948, when the Canadian Consulate General in Caracas was opened. In January 1953 the Consulate General was elevated to embassy status, and since this time Canada has been represented by the Embassy of Canada in Venezuela. Venezuela is represented in Canada by the Embassy of Venezuela (In Spanish Only) and maintains consulates in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. The Vancouver Consulate General was inaugurated in April 2011 and serves Venezuela’s consular interests in British Columbia, Alberta, the Yukon and Northwest Territories.

Canada’s engagement with Venezuela is guided by Canada’s Strategy for the Americas which focuses on Prosperity, Security and Democracy. In January 2010, then-Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas), Peter Kent, visited Venezuela to promote the key objectives of Canada's engagement in the Americas. He met with representatives of civil society, members of parliament and business leaders.

Bilateral trade between Canada and Venezuela totalled $1.34 billion in 2010, making Venezuela Canada’s 6th largest trading partner in Latin America and the Caribbean (excluding Mexico). That same year, merchandise exports reached $559.2 million. Main exports included wheat, paper and paperboard, vegetables, machinery and soybeans. Imports from Venezuela totalled $780.9 million, and included oil and aluminum oxide.

In order to promote security in the region, the Canadian Embassy has supported the Venezuelan Government’s attempts to professionalize its police force through the sharing of experience and expertise to prevent the use of drugs as well as models for community policing. Canadian experts, including members of the RCMP and Montreal police force, have participated in the National Police Council’s annual conferences since 2009.

Canada also has a focus on strengthening civil society to ensure protection of human rights and ensuring democratic governance. In 2009, the Canadian Embassy in Caracas in conjunction with the Centre for Peace and Human Rights at the Universidad Central de Venezuela instituted the Embassy of Canada in Venezuela Human Rights Award, to recognize the important work of human rights defenders. The Embassy also strives to promote political tolerance and respect and recently introducing a series of academic discussions on issues of democratic governance with the participation of Venezuelan academics and political figures of opposing views

Venezuela is not a recipient of official development assistance, but Canada continues to provide support through multilateral programs and through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, which is managed by the Embassy of Canada to Venezuela.

Venezuela has an active Canadian studies program with nine Canadian studies centres, part of the Venezuelan Network of Canadian Studies (REVEC). The network was created in 1995 and is part of the International Council for Canadian Studies. Academics from Venezuela are frequent recipients of grants from the Understanding Canada Program for faculty exchange, research in Canada, and visits of Canadian experts. Research and exchanges range from scientific endeavors, crime prevention and cultural identity. Canada also provides short term scholarship opportunities for students from Latin America and the Caribbean, including Venezuela, to study or conduct research in Canada through the Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP). The ELAP program is predicated on Canadian and Venezuelan institutional linkages which facilitate the creation of scholarship opportunities. These academic agreements help foster research collaborations and student exchanges.

Since 7 August 2009, Canada has represented Israel’s diplomatic and consular interests in Venezuela.

November 2011

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