US Ex-Ambassador Charged As Secret Agent For Cuba Has Leaked Top-level Secrets For (4) Decades #BitcoinFixesThis #GotBitcoin
“If You Think US Is Capable Of Guarding It’s Most-Cherished Secrets You Need To Get Your Head Examined”, Joker 😹😂🤣. US Ex-Ambassador Charged As Secret Agent For Cuba Has Leaked Top-level Secrets For (4) Decades #BitcoinFixesThis #GotBitcoin
During a meeting with the undercover FBI officer at a food court on Miami’s Brickell Ave., Rocha said his intelligence activities had been “enormous…more than a grand slam” for Cuba.
Former diplomats said this is likely to be the worst breach by Cuban intelligence of the U.S. government, surpassing that of Ana Belén Montes, a senior Cuba analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency who pleaded guilty to spying for Cuba in 2002. She was released from prison in 2023.
“This is ten times worse.”
Victor Manuel Rocha, who served in U.S. embassies across Latin America, is accused of spying for Havana’s secret intelligence service for decades.
A former senior U.S. diplomat who served in embassies across Latin America was accused of spying for Cuba’s intelligence service for decades in one of the highest-reaching and longest-lasting security breaches of the U.S. government, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Monday.
Victor Manuel Rocha, a former U.S. ambassador to Bolivia, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Friday. The unsealed complaint said that the 73-year-old Rocha had worked for Cuba’s communist government as a covert agent since at least the early 1980s until now.
“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 intelligence services,” the complaint said.
In doing so, Rocha provided false information to the U.S. and traveled outside the country to meet with Cuban undercover agents, according to the complaint.
During the U.S. investigation, Rocha met with an undercover FBI officer, who was pretending to be a Cuban agent, three times in the last two years, according to the complaint. All three meetings, during which Rocha used undercover Cuban spycraft, were audiotaped and videotaped.
During the first meeting in Miami, Rocha said he had been told by Cuba’s intelligence service to lead a “normal life” and that he had publicly espoused right-wing political leanings to maintain his cover, according to the complaint.
But throughout the meetings Rocha referred to the U.S. as “the enemy.” He praised Fidel Castro as the “comandante” and referred to his contacts in Cuban intelligence as his “compañeros,” according to the complaint.
His lawyer didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
“It was a great coup for the Cubans,” said John Feeley, a former U.S. ambassador to Panama. He said Rocha was his mentor when he entered the foreign service.
A spokesman for Cuba’s Embassy in Washington didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Investigators searched Rocha’s home on Friday, and are working to assess what he may have passed on to Cuba over the years, according to people familiar with the inquiry.
Colombia-born Rocha served in top posts in Bolivia, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Mexico as well as a Latin American expert at the National Security Council in Washington.
From 1995 to 1997, he served as deputy principal officer at the U.S. Interest Section in Havana—the de facto U.S. Embassy when the two countries lacked diplomatic relations—according to the complaint.
In Havana, he had access and security clearance to information that could have been valuable for the Cuban government, Feeley said.
Rocha worked for the U.S. government during a critical period when Cuba and the Soviet Union were Cold War foes with the U.S. The U.S.S.R. and the U.S. nearly went to war in the early 1960s after the U.S. discovered the Soviets had placed nuclear missiles in Cuba.
Rocha lived in Chile in 1973, during the period that the country’s Socialist President Salvador Allende was overthrown by a U.S.-backed coup. Former U.S. diplomats say he might have begun to embrace socialist and Cuban ideology then.
The undercover FBI agent, who first contacted Rocha in 2022 feigning to be a Cuban spy, told the diplomat that he knew Rocha had been a “great friend of ours since your time in Chile.”
Rocha, who holds degrees from Yale, Harvard and Georgetown universities, joined the State Department in 1981, serving as Honduras desk officer when the U.S. was backing so-called Contra rebels against the Marxist Sandinista government in neighboring Nicaragua.
Rocha also served as adviser to the commander of the U.S. Southern Command, which oversees U.S. military relations with Latin American countries, including Cuba, from 2006 to 2012.
“This action exposes one of the highest-reaching and longest-lasting infiltrations of the United States government by a foreign agent,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.
Rocha’s positions within the U.S. government would provide him with access to nonpublic information and the ability to affect U.S. foreign policy, Garland said on Monday.
After retiring from the State Department, Rocha had a second career serving in lucrative jobs for firms doing business in Latin America, the complaint said.
He was hired in September to work in the U.S. unit of Spanish public relations firm Llorente y Cuenca as a senior international business adviser, all the while cultivating the facade of a conservative and supporter of former President Donald Trump.
“I have created the legend of a right-wing person,” he told the FBI agent in a taped conversation, the complaint said.
He appeared to also deploy that tactic in 2002, when he was ambassador to Bolivia. Rocha publicly railed against leftist coca farmer leader Evo Morales, threatening that voting for him in that year’s elections could jeopardize U.S. assistance to the country.
Voters catapulted Morales into prominence in the election, positioning him to win the presidency three years later.
“Instead of burying me,” Morales said at the time about Rocha and the U.S., “they made me much stronger.”
Feeley, who had known Rocha for 30 years, said he parted ways with his former mentor in Miami because he had turned into an enthusiastic supporter of Trump. “He deserved an Oscar, but he’s going to get a jail cell,” Feeley said.
To maintain his cover, he went as far as to support anti-Castro legislators in the U.S. In 2022, Rocha contributed $750 to the re-election effort of Cuban-American Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R., Fla.).
Earlier this year, Salazar reintroduced the “Fighting Oppression until the Reign of Castro Ends Act,” which prevents the U.S. from normalizing relations with Cuba unless democracy is restored on the island.
The bill would also stop the U.S. from removing Havana from the state sponsor of terrorism list, a top Cuban priority, unless a list of conditions is met.
At another meeting, the undercover FBI officer questioned his loyalty to the Cuban regime. Rocha responded angrily: “It’s like questioning my manhood…It’s like you want me to drop them…and show that I still have testicles.”
The complaint didn’t specify the information that Rocha could have supplied to Cuba’s government or whether he received some form of payment. The complaint indicated that he was mostly driven by his sympathy for the Cuban regime.
A primary interest for Cuba’s spy service has long been understanding U.S. policy toward the island and figuring out ways to influence it; an asset like Rocha could have provided a gold mine for that goal, counterintelligence experts say.
The State Department and the intelligence community will assess the damage inflicted to the U.S.’s national security by Rocha’s spying, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Monday.
“It’s been over 20 years since he left the State Department,” Miller told reporters.
At a court hearing in Miami on Monday, Rocha, dressed in a tan jumpsuit, cried and then looked forlorn, watching his family as they left the chamber. He didn’t enter a plea. More charges are likely to be filed, a prosecutor said. A detention hearing was set for Wednesday.