GUEST BLOG: Ian Powell – How should New Zealand respond to the United State States’ false terrorism accusations


The United States is planning to take an action in Congress to continue its formal recognition of the false accusation that Cuba supports international terrorism.

This is the ‘State Sponsors of Terrorism List’ administered by the US State Department. There are three other countries on this infamous selective list – Iran, Syria and North Korea.

Such is the extraordinary belligerent nature of this step that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) should be advising the New Zealand government to oppose it.

Recently I discussed in my politics blog Political Bytes the importance of further strengthening the constructive relationship between New Zealand and Cuba.

This was in the context of New Zealand’s support for a resolution overwhelmingly adopted by the United Nations which opposing the US economic blockade of Cuba: A relationship worthy of strengthening.

- Sponsor Promotion -

From Reagan to Trump to Biden

Cuba was first added to the list in 1982 under President Ronald Reagan. However, the alleged international terrorism was Cuba’s political support for liberation movements challenging repressive Latin American regimes, such as El Salvador.

At the same time, under the oppressive apartheid regime in South Africa, both the African National Congress and Nelson Mandela were also on a State Department terrorist list.

Joe Biden continues the anti-Cuba policies of Reagan and Trump

Cuba was taken off the list towards the end of Barack Obama’s presidency. However, his successor Donald Trump overturned this decision. Now President Joe Biden has aligned himself with Trump’s decision.

Words should mean something

It is important to understand what terrorism actually is. It begins with ‘terror’ which means extreme fear. A ‘terrorist’ is a person who seeks to enact extreme fear; usually a member of a group that uses or advocates terrorism.

This takes us to the meaning of ‘terrorism’  which is the calculated use by terrorists of violence or threat of violence to inculcate extreme fear.

Terrorism is intended to coerce or intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological.

The next step in this context is consideration of when governments commit terrorism. This is referred to as ‘state terrorism’ which is what the US government accuses Cuba of.

State terrorism is similar to non-state terrorism in that it involves politically or ideologically or religiously inspired acts of violence against individuals or groups outside of an armed conflict. The key difference is that agents of a state are carrying out the violence.

To complete the picture because of its direct relevance to the US government is ‘economic terrorism’. This form of terrorism occurs when a group or government attempts to destabilise another group or government.

Cuba falsely accused of sponsoring terrorism despite no supporting evidence

Hypocrisy in overdrive

The official Biden administration’s argument is that Cuba did “…not fully cooperate with the United States antiterrorist efforts for the 2023 calendar year.”

This is hypocrisy in overdrive. Ironically, the international community through the United Nations does not support this evidence-devoid accusation.

In fact, many countries across several continents have benefited from and expressed their appreciation of invaluable Cuban medical support in times of need.

Despite being a poor country Cuba sends medical missions throughout the globe. This is not the behaviour of a terrorist country; it is, however, the behaviour of a humanitarian country.

There is no evidence that Cuba seeks to cause extreme fear internationally; there is no evidence that Cuba has used or supported violence or the threat of violence internationally; there is no evidence that Cuba has sought to destabilise another country either directly or indirectly; and there is no evidence that it seeks to coerce or intimidate other countries or their populations.

In contrast, in each of these specific respects, the United States fits the bill perfectly of supporting terrorism and being a state terrorist, especially since World War 2.

United States governments have been the biggest supporters of terrorism

There is an abundance of evidence that the United States has supported coups in many countries in order to overthrown elected governments such as Iran in 1953 and too many Latin American countries to list here.

It also supported South Africa’s apartheid government’s military endeavours to overthrow Angola’s first post-colonial government.

Even has recently as right now it is supporting (including militarily) Israel’s ethnic cleansing through genocide of  Palestinians in Gaza and repression of other Palestinians in its occupied territories.

If this is not supporting terrorism then the term has no meaning.

To compound the hypocrisy the United States has engaged in vicious devastating economic warfare against Cuba for over 60 years in a determined effort to overthrow Cuba’s government.

Again, if that is not economic terrorism then this term also has no meaning.

Time for MFAT to step up

Humanitarianism alone means that MFAT should advice the New Zealand government to inform the US government of its opposition to Cuba’s continuation on this nonsensical list. And our government should act on this advice.

Pots, kettles and black come to mind

When I think of the US government’s in-your-face hypocrisy words like pots, kettles and black come to mind.

I also think that perhaps the New Zealand government should have its own list of countries that sponsor terrorism and put the US on it.



Ian Powell was Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, the professional union representing senior doctors and dentists in New Zealand, for over 30 years, until December 2019. He is now a health systems, labour market, and political commentator living in the small river estuary community of Otaihanga (the place by the tide). First published at Political Bytes


  1. The U$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ is the most ruthless criminal inhumane monster ever to afflict humanity. Time to trash these scum.

  2. United states of Israel is a pariah state its funds terrorism its in bed with terrorism and its seat at the top of the podium can’t come to an end anytime sooner

    Free Cuba

  3. Thanks for your truthful evaluation of this situation, it is disturbing that our current government and many NZ citizens are unable to see what a danger to civil society the USA has become and are seeking a closer relationship with it.

  4. Cuba, since the Revolution, committed the unconscionable crime of wanting to be a Sovereign, Independent Nation in control of its own Destiny, Independence & Resources & that’s why Cuba is hated & must be punished & sanctioned to death by the US Empire because it can’t tolerate any dissent & resistance to its Geopolitical power? Cuba by its courageous example of passive resistance provided a dangerous precedent & example to other Nations who might have similar designs to oppose US Hegemony & so Cuba had to be crushed underfoot? This is also the reason why Russia, China, Iran & the BRICs Nations are despised by the US Empire, any Nation who challenges US Hegemonic power must have their Govts overthrown & Regime changed, the Maidan coup in Ukraine in 2014 is a perfect example of what the US has been doing to other Nations for over 70 yrs which ironically is the length of Time Cuba has been sanctioned & embargoed in a ongoing, petty vindictive & spiteful form of Collective punishment torture? In Ukraine, the US overthrew a Democratically elected Govt in a American led CIA Coup d’état to install a more compliant Western Govt with the ultimate goal of causing chaos that hopefully would result in the overthrow of Putin & the Russian Govt in order to break up & loot, steal & pillage Russia! The US Empire see’s all Nations in two ways, you are either a Vassal or a soon to be Vassal? The Ukraine War is confirmation of this but unlike the small Nation of Cuba who can’t fight back against the American Bully Empire, the Nuclear Superpowers of Russia & China can? America, hiding behind the green curtain like the Wizard of Oz, pulling the levers on its Proxy Ukraine has had the curtain ripped away revealing a decrepit Old fool called Genocide Joe Biden, America is getting its ass handed to them by the Russians in Ukraine & it has has massive Geopolitical implications because it’s accelerated the coming collapse of the US Empire, it’s in freefall right now & so desperate that it’s begun risking a Nuclear War with Russia to maintain its lunatic Unipolar power but ITS OVER & when it goes, then America’s hateful, despicable & despotic treatment of Cuba will end, once & for all Time?

  5. Everyone knows that America & Israel are the two Greatest Terrorist Nations on Earth, not Cuba or any other Nation? You only have to see what these two genocidal, murderous Nations are doing in Gaza, two cheeks of the same Terrorist arse!

  6. I don’t know exactly what the situation is, but I do know that there are a lot of Cubans in the US, particularly in Florida – and they would raise merry hell if Cuba were taken off the list. It might be politically very difficult for Biden to do so. However, I am willing to be corrected on this if anyone knows any better.

    • There are people in the US who are mad because their grandfather had the egg sale monopoly in all of China, and the communists overthrew all that.

      Noone should care about the feelings of gusanos.

      • I don’t think they are worried about their feelings somehow so much as their voting habits. And of course the amount of noise they can make on Fox News. Which of course are directed by their feelings – so maybe they should.

  7. Certainly, this is what any principled human being would do, should they find themselves in government. Winston Peters, on the other hand- one wonders if it’s a live boy or a dead girl in the blackmail material.

  8. MFAT is full of walk-sock wearing Cold Warriors who wish NZ was in Europe so we could give the Ruskies a bit o’ biffo.
    And their bright-eyed vacant-headed idiot child proteges.

    MFAT has not done a single thing of note since the Rainbow Warrior forced them to maybe stop buying French Wine and Cheese.

    Talentless, conservative hack parasites.


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