OAN’s Elizabeth Bolbelding
5:05 PM – Monday, December 4, 2023
A former U.S. diplomat who served as U.S. ambassador to Bolivia is accused of secretly working as a spy for Cuban intelligence since 1981, the Department of Justice announced.
On Monday, former U.S. diplomat Victor Manuel Rocha was indicted on charges of spying for Cuban intelligence since 1981.
The FBI took Rocha, 73, into custody Friday at his Miami home.
During his 20 years as an American diplomat, Rocha held senior positions in U.S. interests in Bolivia, Argentina, and Havana, Cuba. He appeared briefly in court Monday and was then held pending a bail hearing Wednesday.
Prosecutors say the incident is one of the most “brazen and prolonged betrayals” in U.S. diplomatic history.
Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the arrest of Rocha, a former U.S. ambassador to Bolivia. Garland said the case reveals one of the “most extensive and long-lasting infiltration” of the U.S. government by a foreign representative.
“Those who have the privilege of serving in the United States government are trusted with the utmost confidence by the people we serve,” Garland said in a statement. “This action exposes one of the most widespread and long-lasting infiltration of the U.S. government by foreign agents. Betraying that trust by pledging false allegiance to the United States while serving a foreign power is a crime. The Department of Justice will respond with all its might.”
Mr. Rocha was convicted of helping promote Cuban government business, which is legally a crime unless he registers as a “foreign lobbyist” with the Justice Department and does so on U.S. property. is not considered.
Rocha has reportedly been secretly working on Cuba’s behalf since November 1981.
As a result, he faces at least three criminal charges: conspiracy as a foreign agent to defraud the United States, acting as an unlawful agent of a foreign government, and using a passport obtained by false statements.
The government said additional charges may also occur in the coming weeks.
In November 2022, Rocha reportedly received a WhatsApp message from an undercover FBI agent.
“Hello Ambassador, my name is Miguel. I have a message for you from your friends in Havana,” FBI Special Agent Michael Haley said in a criminal complaint, citing the undercover agent. wrote. “This concerns a sensitive issue. Can I make a phone call?”
As a result, he will take office on November 16th.thFebruary 17, 2022thJune 23rdth Earlier this year, Rocha reportedly bragged about his “longstanding loyalty to Havana,” according to the complaint.
During their last meeting, Rocha reportedly became angry when the undercover agent asked if he remained loyal to Havana.
In response, Rocha used vulgar language and said such an investigation was “like questioning one’s masculinity.”
“I’m angry. I’m angry,” Rocha reportedly said. “It’s like you want me to drop them and show you if I have testicles.”
Additionally, Garland said Rocha repeatedly referred to the United States as an “enemy.”
“He told undercover agents that his efforts to infiltrate the U.S. government were carried out with ‘great care’ and ‘very disciplined,'” Garland said. “And he repeatedly boasted of the importance of his own efforts, saying, ‘What has been done has greatly strengthened the revolution.'”
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