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Ex-US ambassador Manuel Rocha accused of being Cuban spy | US Information

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A former US ambassador to Bolivia has been charged with secretly performing as a Cuban agent for “greater than 40 years”.

Manuel Rocha, who was arrested at his Miami house on Friday, served as the highest US diplomat to Bolivia between 2000 and 2002.

Prosecutors from the US Justice Division accuse him of selling the Cuban authorities’s pursuits, Sky’s US associate NBC Information reported.

This isn’t against the law except it’s completed on US soil with out registering with the division as a overseas lobbyist, the broadcaster added.

Rocha, 73, appeared in courtroom on Monday and is alleged to have begun his “clandestine exercise” on Cuba’s behalf in 1981 or earlier.

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It was one of many highest-reaching and longest-lasting infiltrations of the US authorities by a overseas agent, division officers stated.

He met Cuban intelligence operators, lied to US authorities officers about his travels and contacts and used a passport obtained by way of a false assertion, prosecutors claimed in courtroom paperwork filed in Florida.

The fees replicate a harsher strategy by the division in the direction of the prosecution of illicit overseas lobbying.

Bolivian President Hugo Banzer (L) with Manuel Rocha in 2000

Throughout his 25-year profession as a US diplomat, Rocha served as ambassador to Bolivia and held one other senior submit – head of mission – in Argentina.

He labored for the US Pursuits Part in Havana within the mid-Nineteen Nineties, a time when the US lacked full diplomatic relations with Fidel Castro’s communist authorities.

Prosecutors declare Cuba’s notoriously refined intelligence companies first started utilizing Rocha in 1981 when he first joined the US State Division.

They added that the alleged hyperlinks continued effectively after he left authorities service greater than twenty years later.

The FBI realized concerning the relationship final 12 months, it’s alleged, and organized a collection of undercover conferences with an agent posing as a Cuban intelligence operator.

In a single encounter in Miami final 12 months, Rocha is alleged to have stated: “I at all times instructed myself, ‘The one factor that may put the whole lot we have now completed in peril is – is … somebody’s betrayal, somebody who could have met me, somebody who could have recognized one thing in some unspecified time in the future’.”

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Born in Colombia, Rocha joined the US overseas service in 1981.

As ambassador to Bolivia, he warned Bolivians that in the event that they voted for Evo Morales within the upcoming election, the US would lower off assist to the poor South American nation.

Rocha additionally served in Italy, Honduras, Mexico and the Dominican Republic, and labored as a Latin America knowledgeable for the US Nationwide Safety Council.

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