Ex-U.S. Ambassador Accused of Decades-Long Espionage for Cuba Pleads Not Guilty

Credits: Agencia EFE

Former U.S. ambassador to Bolivia, Victor Manuel Rocha, who is accused of spying for Cuba for several decades, pleaded not guilty. Rocha was indicted on charges of spying for Cuba’s intelligence agency for four decades.

The indictment alleges that Rocha sought positions in the U.S. government to gain access to non-public information and influence U.S. foreign policy.

Attorney General Merrick Garland described the case as one of the highest-reaching and longest-lasting infiltrations of the U.S. government by a foreign agent.

Ex-U.S. Ambassador (Credits: Federal Newswire)

The indictment reveals that Rocha, who held high-level security clearances, was recruited by Cuba’s spy agency, the Directorate of Intelligence, in Chile in 1973.

The FBI had been investigating Rocha for at least a year before his arrest, during which he allegedly had meetings with an undercover FBI agent, whom he believed to be a representative of Cuba’s spy agency. Rocha referred to the U.S. as “the enemy” during these meetings.

Born in Colombia, Rocha became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1978 and worked for the State Department for over two decades, holding various positions in Latin America, including serving as ambassador to Bolivia from 2000 to 2002.

Cuba fell under his purview during his tenure as director for inter-American affairs at the National Security Council and as a deputy principal officer at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Havana. The case highlights Cuba’s spy agency, which is considered highly effective.

Rocha’s arrest follows other high-profile cases, including that of Ana Montes, who was released from prison in January 2022 after being convicted of spying for Cuba. Montes, recruited in 1984, worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency and disclosed sensitive information to Cuban intelligence.