Former US Ambassador to Bolivia and member of the National Security Council, Victor Manuel Rocha, 73, has been charged with spying for Cuba for 40 years, according to the Justice Department. Attorney General Merrick Garland described the charges as exposing one of the highest-reaching and longest-lasting infiltrations of the United States government by a foreign agent. Rocha, a naturalized US citizen originally from Colombia, allegedly began aiding Havana as a covert agent of Cuba’s General Directorate of Intelligence in 1981, and his espionage activities continued until the present.
Rocha, who served on the National Security Council from 1994 to 1995 under the administration of Bill Clinton and was the ambassador to Bolivia from 2000 to 2002 under Clinton and George W. Bush, is scheduled to appear in court in Florida later today. As a career officer in the State Department, Rocha held various posts in Havana, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, the Dominican Republic, and Washington, providing him with access to non-public and classified information, as well as the ability to influence US foreign policy.
The charges against Rocha include conspiring to act as an agent of a foreign government, acting as an agent of a foreign government without prior government consent, and using a US passport obtained by making false statements. Rocha allegedly admitted his activities to an undercover FBI agent posing as a Cuban operative, consistently referring to the United States as “the enemy” and expressing admiration for Fidel Castro. Federal prosecutor Markenzy Lapointe emphasized that individuals who engage in clandestine activity for hostile foreign states and provide false information to the US government endanger American democracy, particularly those who have taken an oath to uphold the US Constitution.
The Justice Department stated that the case against Rocha highlights the importance of trust and loyalty in public service and affirmed its commitment to pursuing justice in such cases.