Diplomats with the Trudeau government praised Cuba's Communist Party for embracing "social rights" and freer speech, and blamed the pandemic for the human rights issues in a briefing note.
According to Blacklocks Reporter, the note was written prior to the internet censorship and arrests by the Cuban government.
The Department of Foreign Affairs wrote that "Under President Diaz-Canel, there has been some modest improvements in freedom of movement and expression until the impacts of Covid began to raise tensions in the country, and saw authorities begin to crack down on public dissent."
The briefing note adds that "Canada recognizes Cuba's strong commitment to economic and social rights, particularly in the areas of education and health."
In a July 14 bulletin, Amnesty International wrote that "Cuban authorities have used the criminal law to imprison and silence alternative voices in the country for decades."
"Along with arbitrary dismissals from state employment as a tactic to strip people of their livelihood, this has created a profound climate of fear in Cuba for decades."
Staffers of Foreign Minister Marc wrote the briefing note. It was prompted by plans by the ruling Communist Party to hold a congress in April.
"Canada and Cuba maintain strong diplomatic relations. We hope to advance regional collaboration and enhance trade and investment ties," staffers said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had previously shown his admiration for former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, expressing deep sorrow following his death.
In a statement, Trudeau had written, "Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and health care of his island nation."
"While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro's supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for ‘el Comandante," added Trudeau.
"I know my father was very proud to call him a friend and I had the opportunity to meet Fidel when my father passed away. It was also a real honour to meet his three sons."
"On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and many, many supporters of Mr. Castro. We join the people of Cuba today in mourning the loss of this remarkable leader."
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh also praised Castro when he passed away, saying in a tweet that "he saw a country wracked by poverty, illiteracy & disease. So he lead a revolution that uplifted the lives of millions."
All this praise of Castro and the Cuban Communist Party comes despite the thousands of deaths caused by communism in the island nation. It is estimated that the Castro regime killed between 35,000 t0 141,000 people, with many more being imprisoned.