Former U.S. Diplomat Arrested For Allegedly Working As Cuban Agent

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Topline

The former U.S. ambassador to Bolivia was arrested by federal agents in Miami last week on allegations of spying for Cuba, the Associated Press reported Sunday, citing an unnamed source.

Key Facts

According to the Associated Press, 73-year-old Manuel Rocha was arrested as part of an FBI counterintelligence investigation on Friday.

The former diplomat is expected to appear before a court on Monday, where more details of the case will be made public, the report adds.

Rocha is facing accusations of illegally lobbying on behalf of the Cuban government in the U.S.

The former U.S. Ambassador purportedly violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires any individual lobbying for foreign governments on U.S. soil to register with the Justice Department.

Crucial Quote

Peter Strzok, former Deputy Assistant Director at the FBI’s counterintelligence division, tweeted: “From Rocha to the Cuban 5 to Kendall and Gwendolyn Myers to Ana Monte to a remarkable run of success in running double agents, the Cuban Intelligence services are very, very good.”

Key Background

The Colombian-born Rocha grew up in New York City and holds multiple degrees from Yale, Harvard and Georgetown Universities. After that Rocha worked in the U.S. foreign service for over two decades, primarily focused on Latin America. In 1997, Rocha became the top U.S. diplomat in Argentina and would serve in the role for nearly three years. In 2000, he was appointed as the U.S. Ambassador to Bolivia. During his stint, Rocha stirred major controversy after making a public comment about the 2002 Bolivian Presidential election, suggesting that U.S. aid to the country may stop if leftist leader and former coca grower Evo Morales was elected into office. The speech was viewed as a U.S. attempt to interfere in the country’s election. After coming to power a few years later, Morales would expel then-U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg, accusing the U.S. government of conspiring against the country’s unity and threatening its democracy.

Further Reading

Former US ambassador arrested in Florida, accused of serving as an agent of Cuba (Associated Press)



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