Former U.S. Ambassador Sentenced To 15 Years In Prison For Secretly Aiding Cuba

A former United States ambassador has been sentenced to 15 years behind bars after admitting he worked as a secret agent for Cuba. Manuel Rocha admitted guilt to federal charges on Friday. The former U.S. ambassador to Bolivia worked as a covert foreign agent for Cuba, was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Rocha, 73, entered a guilty plea to one count of conspiring to defraud the United States and act as an agent of a foreign government in Miami. In addition, he entered a guilty plea to operating without notifying the US government as an unauthorized agent of a foreign government.

The former U.S. diplomat was allegedly a “covert agent of Cuba’s intelligence services” for decades, according to the prosecution.

“I take full responsibility,” Rocha said.

He also told family and friends he was “deeply sorry” for his actions.

The defendant was told repeatedly by Judge Beth Bloom, “You turned your back on this country.”

Rocha was given consecutive sentences of five years for conspiring to act as a foreign government agent and ten years for acting as a foreign agent by Bloom.

Under the terms of the plea deal, charges of wire fraud and lying to investigators were dropped.

Being born in Colombia, Rocha obtained U.S. citizenship through naturalization in 1978. He began working for the State Department in 1981 and held a number of positions in Latin America for more than 20 years, including ambassador to Bolivia from 2000 to 2002. He had jurisdiction over Cuba while working as the National Security Council’s director for inter-American affairs and as the deputy principal officer of the American embassy in Havana. Following his departure from the State Department, he served as an advisor to the commander of the U.S. Southern Command, which surrounds Cuba.

Rocha’s employment with the U.S. government overlapped with that of Ana Montes, a former Defense Intelligence Agency Analyst who spent 20 years in prison for spying for Cuba before she was released in 2023. Montes was recruited by Cuban intelligence in 1984 before she was hired by the Defense Intelligence Agency.

In one of his meetings with the undercover FBI agent, prosecutors said Rocha praised a U.S. government employee who had spied for Cuba, saying she “was betrayed.” - From OANN

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