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Source: Hon Matt Robson

NZ should front-foot international opposition to the illegal acts against Cuba and uphold the international rule of law

“The omission of Cuba on by Secretary of State Blinken in his report to Congress on 15 May from the State Sponsors of Terrorism List (SSOT) is recognition that the world condemns the falsehood and hypocrisy of having Cuba on the SSOT, “ said Hon Matt Robson, former Associate Foreign Affairs Minister of New Zealand. “The world knows that it has been the USA which has breached international law, not Cuba, and organised terrorist attacks on Cuba, including from US soil, and continues to do so.”

However, Cuba remains on the US Terrorism List and suffers from that as nations and companies are punished if they do not accept the sanctions that go with it. Thus, Cuba is cut off from the international financial system and prevented from trading normally and developing its economy.

Being on the list means, further, that humanitarian and solidarity groups cannot send aid, Cubans abroad are denied bank accounts, including diplomats and entrepreneurs and money cannot be remitted to families in Cuba. This flagrant breach of international law, coupled with the more than 60 years of an ever-tightening embargo aimed at crippling the Cuban economy and “making it scream” and a UN-estimated loss in 2023 of over USD 4.87 billion, has had the desired effects of causing misery for Cubans because of shortages of food, fuel, medicines and other essentials of life. The continued aggression of the USA has meant the diversion of essential funds for social and economic development are diverted to the defence of Cuba. Because of this US-created deepening humanitarian crisis, Cubans in their thousands have been forced abroad, mainly to the USA the source of their misery.

Despite this brutal aggression for more than 60 years by the most powerful military and economic power in the world, Cuba has been at the forefront of providing whatever resources it can afford to battle poverty and underdevelopment in the world and during Covid provided extensive medical care not just to Global south countries but to advanced economies such as Italy.

The government of New Zealand has joined the overwhelming global majority that has, mainly through the UN, denounced over many decades the brutal embargo and the pacing of Cuba on the Terrorism List.

NZ should work with the UN Majority to uphold international law for Cuba

It is in New Zealand’s interests to work with the UN majority to actively pressure the United States to end its act of war against the Cuban people and its government.

Cuba and New Zealand have worked alongside each other on training doctors from the Pacific and on literacy programmes in New Zealand based on Cuban methods. It is time to lift this cooperation to a higher level on the international plane and for New Zealand to be in the forefront of nations opposing the falsehood of Cuba on any terrorist list and for an immediate end to the illegal embargo.