Ex-US Ambassador Pleads Guilty To Spying For Cuba

A former U.S. diplomat and ex-U.S. ambassador to Bolivia recently pled guilty to charges, admitting to a judge that he spied for the communist regime of Cuba for years.

On Feb. 29, 2024, 73-year-old Victor Manuel Rocha admitted to spying for Cuba, telling the judge that he “intends to plead guilty to federal charges.”

In December 2023, Rocha was indicted on charges accusing the ex-U.S. official of being a spy for Cuba’s intelligence agency for years. While in court, the 73-year-old said he would agree to plead guilty to conspiring to act as an agent of a foreign government.

Considering his willingness to plead guilty, prosecutors dropped more than 12 additional charges.

Rocha faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years for the two counts. Rocha said he was “in agreement” with changing his guilty plea when asked by the judge. After the hearing, the 73-year-old’s intention to modify the plea was noted on the case docket. His next court date will be on April 12, 2024.

Rocha was reportedly recruited in Chile by the Directorate of Intelligence in 1973. The organization is Cuba’s spy network. Upon being enlisted, prosecutors said the intelligence service told the 73-year-old to make up a story to hide his “double life.”

Given the significance of the case, Attorney General Merrick Garland said it was “one of the highest-reaching and longest-lasting infiltrations of the U.S. government by a foreign agent,” adding that Rocha applied for U.S. government jobs that “would provide him access to non-public information and the ability to affect U.S. foreign policy.”

Records have yet to be released showing what information Rocha possibly told Cuba or how the 73-year-old could have influenced policy in America.

Amid concerns that Rocha was spying on behalf of the Cuban government, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) sent an undercover agent to meet with the now-retired diplomat on the island. On multiple occasions, Rocha allegedly referred to the U.S. as “the enemy.”

“My number one concern; my number one priority was … any action on the part of Washington that would endanger the life of the leadership, or the revolution itself,” Rocha allegedly told the disguised agent.