Former US ambassador sentenced to 15 years in prison for spying for communist Cuba - Morelos Diario

Former US ambassador sentenced to 15 years in prison for spying for communist Cuba

The previous US ambassador to Bolivia was sentenced to 15 years in jail on Friday after admitting to a decades-long marketing campaign of spying on the US authorities for communist Cuba.  

Miami-based US District Decide Beth Bloom accepted Victor Manuel Rocha’s responsible plea on two counts, together with appearing as an agent of a overseas authorities, earlier than handing down his decade-and-a-half-long sentence and a $500,000 high-quality, the utmost penalty allowed.

Rocha, 73, was indicted final December, in a case that Legal professional Normal Merrick Garland described as “one of many highest-reaching and longest-lasting infiltrations of the US authorities by a overseas agent.” 

Victor Manuel Rocha
Rocha was sentenced to the utmost penalty allowed for his costs. through REUTERS

“Right now’s plea and sentencing brings to an finish greater than 4 a long time of betrayal and deceit by the defendant,” Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen stated Friday.

“Rocha admitted to appearing as an agent of the Cuban authorities on the identical time he held quite a few positions of belief within the U.S. authorities, a staggering betrayal of the American individuals and an acknowledgement that each oath he took to america was a lie,” the Justice Division official added. 

Rocha, who served as ambassador to Bolivia from 2000 to 2002, held high-ranking posts in a number of embassies and even the White Home throughout the Clinton administration over his greater than 20 years in public service. 

Between 2006 and 2012, after leaving the State Division, Rocha served as an advisor to the US Southern Command, a Miami-based joint navy command submit of the Division of Protection whose space of accountability contains Cuba.

The DOJ famous that his numerous high-level roles supplied him entry to nonpublic and labeled data “and the flexibility to have an effect on US overseas coverage.” 

Rocha admitted that his involvement with Cuba’s intelligence service started in 1973 and continued till the time of his arrest – spanning his whole profession in authorities. 

The Colombian-born profession diplomat portrayed himself as a Cuba hardliner, against the communist regime, in an effort to maintain suspicions to a minimal, in keeping with prosecutors. 

Outside Miami federal court where Victor Manuel Rocha pled guilty.
Rocha acted as an agent for Cuba all through his whole profession within the US authorities. AFP through Getty Photos

He was arrested after a sequence of conferences with undercover FBI brokers posing as Cuban intelligence officers, throughout which Rocha acknowledged the “a long time” of spying he had completed on behalf of Cuba, spanning “40 years.” 

Rocha referred to the US as “the enemy” and praised the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro throughout his conferences with the undercover FBI brokers, in keeping with the DOJ. 

He additionally described his work as a Cuban agent as “monumental … Greater than a grand slam,” and asserted that what he did “strengthened the Revolution … immensely.”

The US authorities has not revealed what data Rocha might need supplied Cuba or how he could have influenced US coverage towards the island.

“15 years in a federal jail won’t ever be sufficient for the irreparable hurt he’s inflicted on our nation,” Cuban-born Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-Fla.) wrote on X. 

The Justice Division didn’t cost Rocha with espionage, against the law that will’ve carried a stiffer sentence. 

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