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Justin Trudeau begins trade trip with stop in Cuba

Click to play video: 'Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Cuba for trade trip; first PM to visit in two decades' Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Cuba for trade trip; first PM to visit in two decades
WATCH ABOVE: Prime Minister Trudeau arrived in Cuba as a first step in the Liberal government’s week-long bid to boost Canadian trade, investment and engagement in the region. Shirlee Engel reports – Nov 16, 2016

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Trudeau arrives in Cuba today, the first official visit by a Canadian prime minister in almost two decades.

It is the first step in the Liberal government’s week-long bid to boost Canadian trade, investment and engagement in the region.

The visit is a necessary and symbolic stop en route to Argentina and Peru because Cuba is a political and diplomatic gateway to the Americas.

READ MORE: Chill of Cold War runs through Cuba as Justin Trudeau set to visit

Allan Culham, Canada’s former ambassador to the Organization of American States says a visit to Cuba is a rite of passage in the Americas.

Justin Trudeau has a special relationship with Cuba.

Former leader Fidel Castro was an honorary pallbearer at the funeral of his father, Pierre Trudeau in 2000 because of a friendship that began when the elder Trudeau visited Cuba in 1976.

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