Former US Diplomat Pleads Guilty To Spying For Cuba

A former U.S. ambassador to Bolivia has advised a federal judge that he will plead guilty to charges of spying for communist Cuba over the last several decades.

The former diplomat, 73-year-old Manuel Rocha, agreed to terms from federal prosecutors to drop 13 criminal charges against him in exchange for the shocking admission.

Although unofficially it can be said he was involved in espionage, which is an actual federal crime, he has been officially charged with a lesser crime of acting as a foreign agent.

Rocha was arrested in December with charges accusing him of spying for Castro’s government since 1981. Although the details of the deal he made in exchange for charges dropped have not been revealed, he will still face a sentence of between 5 and 10 years in prison, which will be formally given to him on April 12.

Details on what exactly he shared with the Cuban government have not been revealed, but it is clear from counterintelligence intercepts that he had a close relationship with the Cuban government and expressed affinity for it, as well as disdain for the United States. He referred to Cuban dictator Fidel Castro as “Comandante” and labeled the United States as an “enemy.”

Although Cuba is perceived as an economically poor country, it is noteworthy that their intelligence services were able to fund and operate a mole undetected for over 40 years in the heart of U.S. diplomatic circles. Numerous red flags had been ignored, including a tip in 2006 that Rocha was working as a double agent and knowledge since at least 1987 that Cuba had a well-placed spy within our government.

Manuel Rocha was born in 1950 in Bogota, Columbia, but immigrated to New York City where he grew up and eventually attended Yale University. He later went on to receive degrees from both Harvard and Georgetown University. He began working for the Department of State in 1981. Exactly how he turned into seeing the United States as an enemy after it had given him so much in terms of opportunity and wealth is a mystery, but a likely possibility may be political indoctrination against the values of capitalism and democracy the United States represents.

Although U.S. intelligence agencies can now claim to have caught a spy of great influence, the victory comes too late after being undetected for decades, and damage assessments to the intelligence community are estimated to take years.

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