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Ex-US ambassador spied for Cuba for over 40 years, DOJ says: ‘One of the highest-reaching and longest-lasting infiltrations’
Former United States Ambassador Victor Manuel Rocha (Photo by GONZALO ESPINOZA/AFP via Getty Images)

Ex-US ambassador spied for Cuba for over 40 years, DOJ says: ‘One of the highest-reaching and longest-lasting infiltrations’

A former United States ambassador was arrested for allegedly spying on behalf of Cuba for over 40 years, the Department of Justice stated on Monday.

According to a DOJ press release, 73-year-old Victor Manuel Rocha, a former U.S. Department of State employee, was charged with “committing multiple federal crimes by secretly acting for decades as an agent of the government of the Republic of Cuba.”

Rocha, who was born in Colombia but became a naturalized U.S. citizen, began working for the State Department in 1981, served on the National Security Council from 1994 to 1995, and served as a U.S. ambassador to Bolivia from 2000 to 2002. During his employment, Rocha had access to nonpublic and classified information as well as “the ability to affect U.S. foreign policy.”

According to the DOJ, Rocha “secretly supported the Republic of Cuba and its clandestine intelligence-gathering mission against the United States by serving as a covert agent of Cuba’s General Directorate of Intelligence.”

“After his State Department employment ended, Rocha engaged in other acts intended to support Cuba’s intelligence services,” the DOJ explained. “From in or around 2006 until in or around 2012, Rocha was an adviser to the Commander of the U.S. Southern Command, a joint command of the United States military whose area of responsibility includes Cuba.”

During a series of meetings with an undercover FBI agent posing as a Cuban intelligence representative, Rocha boasted about his “decades” of work for the Cuban government.

The undercover agent told Rocha he was “a covert representative” who had been directed “to contact you, introduce myself as your new contact, and establish a new communication plan.” Rocha reportedly responded, “Yes,” the DOJ’s complaint claimed.

During those meetings, Rocha allegedly referred to the U.S. as “the enemy” and called Fidel Castro the “Comandante” or “commander.” He also referred to Cuban intelligence contacts as his “Compañeros” or “comrades,” the press release stated.

The former U.S. official has been charged with conspiring to act as an agent of a foreign government, acting as an agent of a foreign government, and using a passport obtained by false statement.

The FBI Miami Field Office is investigating the case.

In a statement, Attorney General Merrick Garland said, “This action exposes one of the highest-reaching and longest-lasting infiltrations of the United States government by a foreign agent.”

“We allege that for over 40 years, Victor Manuel Rocha served as an agent of the Cuban government and sought out and obtained positions within the United States government that would provide him with access to nonpublic information and the ability to affect U.S. foreign policy,” Garland added.

He further stated that Rocha “will be met with the full force of the Justice Department” for his alleged actions.

FBI Director Christopher Wray also commented on the charges.

“Like all federal officials, U.S. diplomats swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. Acting as an agent for Cuba – a hostile foreign power – is a blatant violation of that oath and betrays the trust of the American people,” Wray said.

The Cuban Embassy and Rocha’s lawyer did not respond to a request for comment from CBS News.

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Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@candace_phx →