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Former US ambassador, NSC member charged with acting as secret agent for communist Cuba for decades: DOJ

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A former U.S. ambassador to Bolivia and a National Security Council member was charged after working against the U.S. government for decades for communist Cuba in “clandestine intelligence-gathering missions.”

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

“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 non-public information and the ability to affect U.S. foreign policy,” Garland said. “Those who have the privilege of serving in the government of the United States are given an enormous amount of trust by the public we serve. To betray that trust by falsely pledging loyalty to the United States while serving a foreign power is a crime that will be met with the full force of the Justice Department.”

Victor Manuel Rocha’s career in covert work began in 1980, before his stunning fall from grace in 2012.

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According to a release from the Department of Justice, Rocha is a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Colombia.

The 73-year-old allegedly secretly supported Cuba and its “clandestine intelligence-gathering mission” against the United States by working as a covert agent for Cuba’s General Directorate of Intelligence.

According to a criminal complaint from the DOJ, Rocha used his employment in the U.S. Department of State between 1981 and 2002, to obtain classified information and affect U.S. foreign policy.

Following his employment at the Department of State, Rocha transferred in 2006 as an advisor to the Commander of the U.S. Southern Command, a joint command of the United States military whose area of responsibility includes Cuba.

Manuel Rocha, 73

The complaint alleges that Rocha kept his status as a Cuban agent secret in order to protect himself and others and to allow himself the opportunity to engage in additional “clandestine activity.”

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The DOJ said that Rocha provided false and misleading information to the U.S. to maintain his secret status, traveled outside the U.S. to meet with Cuban intelligence operatives, and made false and misleading statements to obtain travel documents.

According to the complaint, Rocha made a series of recorded admissions to an undercover FBI agent who posed as a Cuban intelligence operative who reached out to Rocha on WhatsApp, saying that he had a message, “from your friends in Havana.”

Rocha praised the late communist leader Fidel Castro, calling him “comandante,” branded the U.S. the “enemy” and bragged about his service for more than 40 years as a Cuban mole in the heart of U.S. foreign policy circles.

Rocha also described his work as a Cuban agent as “a grand slam.”

Rocha was charged with conspiring to act as an agent of a foreign government without prior notification to the Attorney General; acting as an agent of a foreign government without prior notification to the Attorney General; and with using a passport obtained by false statement.

Victor Rocha

During a hearing in federal court in Miami on Thursday, Rocha said he had agreed to plead guilty to two charges of conspiring to act as an agent of a foreign government, according to The Associated Press.

Prosecutors agreed to dismiss more than a dozen other charges in exchange for his guilty plea, the AP said.

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