Former U.S. Ambassador charged with spying for Cuba

December 4, 2023

Federal prosecutors on Monday charged Victor Manuel Rocha, the former U.S. Ambassador to Bolivia, with spying for Cuba.

The complaint alleges that, “in a series of meetings during 2022 and 2023, with an undercover agent from the FBI posing as a covert Cuban General Directorate of Intelligence representative, Rocha made repeated statements admitting his ‘decades’ of work for Cuba, spanning ’40 years,’” the Department of Justice said in a statement.

The DOJ added that Rocha, who served on the National Security Council from 1994 to 1995 and as Ambassador to Bolivia from 2000 to 2002, committed “multiple federal crimes” by “secretly acting for decades as an agent of the government of the Republic of Cuba.” 

The 73-year-old Rocha currently resides in Miami. He was apprehended on Friday. 

“This action exposes one of the highest reaching and longest lasting infiltration of the U.S. government by a foreign agent,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a televised announcement.

Garland added, “Rocha repeatedly referred to the United States as, quote, ‘the enemy.’ He told the undercover [agent] that his efforts to infiltrate the United States government were, quote, ‘meticulous’ and , quote, ‘very disciplined,’ and he repeatedly bragged about the significance of his efforts, saying that, quote, ‘what has been done has strengthened the revolution immensely.'”

Rocha faces at least three criminal counts: conspiring to act as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the Justice Department, acting as an agent of a foreign government without such notification; and lying to obtain a passport. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge.

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