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Former U.S. ambassador to Bolivia charged with acting as Cuban agent

An FBI seal is seen on a wall. Associated Press/Photo by Charlie Neibergall, file

Former U.S. ambassador to Bolivia charged with acting as Cuban agent

Manuel Rocha, 73, a former U.S. diplomat, was arraigned in Florida on Monday afternoon as part of an FBI counterintelligence investigation. The U.S. Department of Justice accuses Rocha of serving as an undercover Cuban agent. Rocha’s attorneys refused requests for comment Monday. Rocha, who was arrested at his home in Miami on Friday, wept as he sat handcuffed in court Monday. The court ordered him to be held pending a bond hearing on Wednesday.

How long was Rocha a diplomat? Rocha served for 25 years, much of it during the Cold War in Latin America. His posts included positions in Bolivia, Argentina, and the U.S. Interests Section of Cuba during Fidel Castro’s communist government. Rocha served as an agent of the Cuban government for 40 years, obtaining positions in the U.S. government that would let him access “non-public information” and allow him to affect U.S. policy, said Attorney General Merrick Garland. Prosecutor said Rocha admitted his activity over the past year to an undercover FBI agent.

Dig deeper: Read Carolina Lumetta’s report in The Stew about Biden’s pilot program for immigrants from Cuba and other southern countries.

Tobin Jacobson

Tobin Jacobson is a student at Patrick Henry College and the World Journalism Institute.

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