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Former US ambassador charged with spying on behalf of Cuba for decades


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The Washington Examiner/AP

December 04, 2023

A former American diplomat who served as U.S. ambassador to Bolivia has been charged with serving as a mole for Cuba's intelligence services dating back decades, the Justice Department said Monday.

Newly unsealed court papers allege that Manuel Rocha engaged in "clandestine activity" on Cuba's behalf since at least 1981, including by meeting with Cuban intelligence operatives and providing false information to U.S. government officials about his travels and contacts.

The complaint, filed in federal court in Miami, charges Rocha with crimes including acting as an illegal agent of a foreign government and comes amid stepped up Justice Department criminal enforcement of illicit foreign lobbying on U.S. soil. The 73-year-old had a two-decade career as a U.S. diplomat, including top posts in Bolivia, Argentina, and the U.S. Interests Section in Havana.

The charging document traces Rocha's illegal ties with Cuba's notoriously sophisticated intelligence services to 1981, when he first joined the State Department, to well after his departure from the federal government more than two decades later.

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