The former US ambassador to Bolivia, Manuel Rocha, was accused of spying for Cuba over decades

Washington — A former senior US diplomat who most recently served as America’s ambassador to Bolivia He was arrested on Friday He was accused of serving as a foreign agent for Cuba, according to court documents.

Beginning in 1981 and continuing to the present day, Victor Manuel Rocha — a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Cuba and currently living in Miami — has allegedly spied on behalf of the island nation’s intelligence agency, referring to the United States as the “enemy.” and supporting Cuba’s secret intelligence-gathering mission, according to prosecutors.

While the indictment does not provide details about the information prosecutors allege Rocha shared with the Cubans during the decades he was accused of working with them, the indictment documents describe an ongoing relationship he fostered with Cuban handlers.

The charging documents revealed that by working with unnamed conspirators within the Cuban intelligence community, Rocha “agreed to serve and actually served as a secret agent for the Cuban government.”

First, as a political officer at the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic, Rocha worked his way through various diplomatic posts in the region, charging documents say, including a position as director of inter-American affairs at the U.S. National Security Council. Prosecutors say this role gave him special responsibility regarding Cuban policy.

Investigators said Rocha had access to sensitive information as a State Department employee, signed nondisclosure agreements and was required to “confirm his loyalty to the United States and no covert activity on behalf of any foreign nation.”

From 2006 to 2012, Rocha was an advisor to the commander of the US military’s Joint Command in the region, which included Cuba.

Unspecified evidence from the investigation, along with numerous meetings in recent years between Rocha and an undercover FBI agent, prompted prosecutors to bring charges, court documents say.

Over the course of three meetings in 2022 and 2023, investigators allege that Rocha discussed his decades-long partnership with Cuban intelligence, telling the undercover agent during their first meeting outside a Miami church: “My first priority was … any action by Washington that would jeopardize the life of “Driving to danger…the revolution itself.”

“I have to protect what we’ve done because what we’ve done…is the cement that has cemented the last 40 years,” Rocha allegedly told the undercover agent during their second meeting. “What we’ve done…is massive. …More than just the big slams.” “

This photo provided by the Department of Justice and included in the affidavit in support of a criminal complaint shows Manuel Rocha during a meeting with an undercover FBI employee.

Ministry of Justice / AFP


In June 2023, during their last meeting, the undercover agent asked Rocha if he was “still with us.”

“I’m angry. I’m angry…It’s like questioning my masculinity,” Rocha responded.

Rocha is scheduled to appear in federal court for her initial appearance Monday afternoon in Miami.

“This action exposes one of the most far-reaching and long-standing infiltrations of the U.S. government by a foreign agent,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said at an event Monday.

The Cuban embassy did not respond to a request for comment, and Rocha’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rocha made his first appearance in court on Monday, and will be arraigned later this month.

The charges against Rocha come nearly a year after another Cuban spy was released from prison after more than 20 years behind bars. Ana Montes, a former analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency, spied for Cuba for 17 years, exposing the identities of secret US intelligence officers and her highly sensitive information-gathering abilities, until her arrest in 2001.

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