Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

A former US diplomat admits to being a Cuban agent.

By b0oua Mar 2, 2024
News

An unexpectedly speedy resolution to a case that prosecutors had referred to as one of the most treasonous and worst in the history of the State Department’s Foreign Service was reached on Thursday when a former United States.

diplomat informed a federal judge that he will plead guilty to charges that he worked for decades as a secret agent for communist Cuba.

Even though the prosecutor and the attorney for Manuel Rocha, a former ambassador who is 73 years old, stated that the plea deal involves a sentence that has been agreed upon, they did not give any more specifics during a court session that took place on Thursday. This individual is set to appear in court once more on April 12th, when he is expected to submit a guilty plea and be sentenced.

“I agree,” Mr. Rocha answered in response to Judge Beth Bloom’s inquiry about whether or not he desired to enter a plea of not guilty. He was handcuffed and shackled at the time. A total of thirteen counts, including those pertaining to unlawful money transfers and making false claims, were dropped by the prosecution as part of the agreement.

The brief hearing did not throw any new light on an issue that has remained elusive ever since Mr. Rocha was arrested in December: Specifically, what actions did he take to assist Cuba when he was employed by the State Department for twenty years? In addition to his time spent serving as ambassador to Bolivia, he has also held prominent positions at embassies in Argentina and Mexico, as well as at the White House and the United States Interests Section in Havana.

The aristocratic and even regal manner in which he carried himself, which matched his high level of education at some of the most prestigious universities in the United States, earned him the nickname “Ambassador Rocha,” which he preferred to be called. Following his departure from the State Department, he worked as a special adviser to the commander of the United States Southern Command. Most recently, he has been a staunch admirer of former President Donald Trump and a hard-liner on Cuba. According to acquaintances and prosecutors, Mr. Rocha adopted him in order to conceal his true loyalty.

Peter Lapp, who took charge of the FBI’s anti-Cuba operations between the years 1998 and 2005, stated that a speedy resolution to the case would be beneficial not only to Mr. Rocha but also to the government, as it would provide additional information regarding Cuba’s influence on the foreign policy of the United States.

Espionage is the most common charge brought against the defendant in cases involving counterintelligence. However, Mr. Rocha was charged with lesser charges of working as a foreign agent, which carry maximum terms of five to ten years in prison. This made it easier for the prosecution and Mr. Rocha to come to an agreement.

“It’s a win-win solution,” said Mr. Lapp, who led the investigation of Ana Montes, the highest-ranking American official ever convicted of espionage for Cuba. “It’s what everyone would benefit from,” he said.”He receives a substantial reward and the opportunity to see his family again, and the United States will be able to conduct a full damage assessment that would not be possible without his cooperation.”

On the other hand, the Cuban community and a few legal professionals voiced their disapproval of the settlement, stating that they believed his punishment might be too lenient.

“Any sentence that allows him to see the light of day again would not be justice,” said Carlos Trujillo, a lawyer from Miami who served as the United States ambassador to the Organization of American States under the administration of Vice President Donald Trump. “He is a spy for a foreign enemy who has endangered American lives.”

In response to the situation, a spokesperson for the Justice Department declined to comment.

Washington, District of Columbia: An unexpectedly speedy resolution to a case that prosecutors referred to as one of the most egregious betrayals in the history of the United States Foreign Service was reached on Thursday when a former career diplomat for the United States State Department informed a federal judge that he will plead guilty to accusations of operating for decades as a covert spy for communist Cuba. In December of the previous year, officials indicted Victor Manuel Rocha, who had previously served as the United States ambassador to Bolivia. Rocha was accused of gathering intelligence for Cuba’s intelligence organization over a period of forty years.

Considering that Rocha, who is 73 years old, has stated that he intends to plead guilty to federal charges of conspiring to operate as an agent of a foreign government, it is possible that he may receive a significant jail sentence.

It was claimed by both the prosecution and Rocha’s attorney that the plea deal contained a sentence that was mutually agreed upon; however, specifics of the sentencing were not released during the hearing that took place on Thursday. On the 12th of April, Rocha is scheduled to appear in court again, when he is anticipated to formally adopt his guilty plea and receive his punishment.

Rocha, who was shackled at the hands and ankles, responded, “I am in agreement,” when asked by U.S. District Court Judge Beth Bloom if he desired to modify his plea to guilty. Rocha was the defendant in the case. As part of the agreement, the prosecution agreed to remove thirteen counts, which included wire fraud and making false statements charges.

There was no information provided during the brief hearing that took place on Thursday regarding the topic of what exactly he did to assist Cuba while he was employed by the State Department. Ambassador to Bolivia, as well as prominent positions in Argentina and Mexico, the White House, and the United States Interests Section in Havana, were among the positions he held during his career.

His aristocratic, almost regal manner, which was befitting of his Ivy League background, earned him the nickname “Ambassador Rocha,” which he wanted to be called. He was well known among Miami’s elite residents. Rocha’s post-government career included a period of time spent as a special assistant to the commander of the United States Southern Command. More recently, he has been known for his tough-talking support of Donald Trump and his extreme stance on Cuba. According to his associates and prosecutors, Rocha cultivated this character in order to conceal his true allegiances.

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