On a balmy evening last September, Ian W. Delaney, chairman of Canada's Sherritt International Corp., hosted a glittering reception at Havana's Palacio de Convenciones. The next day, Sherritt would be the first capitalist company to hold a board meeting in Cuba since Castro's revolution took hold in 1959. Among those at the party were the British and Canadian ambassadors, much of Cuba's Cabinet, and Vice-President Carlos Lage Davila. But the celebration was capped by Fidel Castro, who toasted Delaney and his board as being "brave" for defying the U.S.
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