Former US ambassador to plead guilty to espionage for Cuba

Former US ambassador to plead guilty to espionage for Cuba

HAVANA, March 1. Former US ambassador Víctor Manuel Rocha, arrested in Miami last December and charged with several related criminal chargeswith fraud and espionage for Cuba for 40 years, announced this Thursday in a Miami court that he will plead guilty.

Rocha, 73, said today that he will admit his guilt to the federal charges against him for conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government, after having pleaded not guilty on February 14 to the charges against him.

Rocha’s change of statement and the sentencing hearing were set for April 12, according to court documents to which EFE had access.

The former diplomat of Colombian origin was the US ambassador to Bolivia between 1999 and 2002 and is accused of “committing multiple federal crimes by secretly acting for decades as an agent of the government of the Republic of Cuba,” according to the US government’s indictment.

Asked at Thursday’s court hearing by District Judge Beth Bloom if he wanted to change his previous plea of not guilty, Rocha said: “I agree.”

Rocha faces a total of 15 charges for 6 crimes, which together would carry a maximum prison sentence of 60 years if he is convicted.

Among the charges is one for “acting as an illegal agent of a foreign government (Cuba)” and another for conspiracy to commit the same crime and “defraud the United States.”

He also has five counts of wire fraud, three for “making a false statement in a passport application,” four for “use of a passport obtained by a false statement” and one for “false statements and representations,” according to the court document. accusation.

The former ambassador is accused of committing multiple federal crimes by acting secretly for about forty years as an “agent of the Government of the Republic of Cuba,” according to the US.

Rocha was arrested in Miami on December 1 after confessing his activities to an FBI agent posing as another Cuban spy.

Between 1981 and 2002, Rocha was an employee of the US Department of State and held various positions in the US embassies in the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Mexico, Argentina and Bolivia.

According to the indictment, between 2022 and 2023 there were three meetings between Rocha and an FBI special agent who pretended to be ‘Miguel’, a representative of the General Directorate of Intelligence of Cuba.

In those meetings, which were recorded and held in Spanish, the former diplomat constantly referred to the United States as “the enemy” and confessed that his greatest concern when he worked for the State Department was “strengthening the Cuban Revolution.”