Former US Ambassador Arrested on Charges of Spying for Cuba

( – Most countries, including the United States, consider espionage a high crime. The Justice Department (DOJ) announced the arrest and arraignment on Monday, November 4, of a former US ambassador to Bolivia and a long-time State Department employee, Victor Manuel Rocha, 73, charging him with acting as a covert intelligence agent for Cuba for more than 40 years.

Merrick Garland, the US attorney general, said the DOJ operation allegedly uncovered “one of the highest-reaching and longest-lasting” spy breaches of the US government and promised his department’s “full force” would support the prosecution of the crime. Christopher Wray, director of the FBI, pointed out that becoming “an agent for Cuba — a hostile foreign power” — violated the Constitutional oath that Rocha took. Wray said the FBI would discover and hold to account “anyone who violates their oath to the United States,” regardless of the timeframe.

The DOJ alleged that Rocha, a naturalized US citizen, began spying for Cuba in 1981 after he obtained employment with the State Department. He worked his way up the ranks, eventually securing career posts as Mexico’s US Embassy First Secretary in 1989, the Dominican Republic’s US Embassy Deputy Mission Chief in 1991, the Inter-American Affairs Director on the US National Security Council in 1994, the US Interests Section’s Deputy Principal Officer in Havana, Cuba in 1995, Argentina’s US Embassy Deputy Mission Chief in1997, and the US Ambassador to Bolivia from 1999 until 2002.

After leaving the State Department in 2002, Rocha became an advisor from 2006 to 2012 for the US Southern Command, also responsible for bases in Cuba. In 2022 and 2023, an FBI agent acting covertly as an undercover representative of the Cuban General Intelligence Directorate (DGI) contacted the former ambassador to “establish a new communication plan.” Believing the young agent to be his new DGI contact, Rocha educated him about his successful 40-year history as an undercover operative.

The FBI agent swore out a criminal complaint, entered as evidence on Monday. Federal prosecutors charged Rocha with conspiracy to act and acting as a foreign agent without notifying the Attorney General and utilizing a passport procured under false pretenses.

~Here’s to Our Liberty!

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