Former US envoy jailed for spying — RT World News

Victor Manuel Rocha pleaded guilty to having worked as an agent of Cuba for more than 40 years

American media reported on Friday, citing judicial documents, that former US Ambassador Victor Manuel Rocha was sentenced to 15 years in prison on charges of spying for Cuba.

Rocha, who was born in Colombia and became a U.S. citizen in 1978, worked for the U.S. State Department from 1981 to 2002, serving in a variety of diplomatic positions, including as deputy principal official in the U.S. Interests Section in Cuba and then in later. As an American envoy to Bolivia and Argentina.

The 73-year-old former diplomat was arrested in December 2023 on charges of involvement in gathering intelligence against Washington for the Cuban government. The arrest came after several meetings between the former envoy and an undercover FBI agent posing as a representative of the General Directorate of Cuban Intelligence. According to court documents, during these meetings, Rocha repeatedly referred to the United States “the enemy,” He praised the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro and admitted to working as a spy.

Rocha initially pleaded not guilty at a hearing in February, but later changed his plea to avoid trial.

On Friday, Rocha pleaded guilty to two charges — conspiracy to defraud the United States as a foreign agent and acting as an unlawful agent of a foreign government without registering with U.S. authorities. 13 other charges against him, including lying to investigators and fraud, were dropped under the plea agreement. In addition to the 15 years in prison, which effectively constitutes a life sentence, given Rocha's age, the former diplomat faces three years of supervised release and a $500,000 fine.

Under the plea agreement, the former diplomat will have to participate, prosecutors said “A full and detailed assessment of the damage that has been committed.” With the American authorities. The deal also includes a stipulation that the US government may seek to strip Rocha of his citizenship and that he remains liable for compensation if victims of his actions speak out.

“Today’s appeal brings an end to more than four decades of betrayal and deceit by Mr. Rocha. Mr. Rocha has lived most of his life as a lie. David Newman, a senior national security official at the US Department of Justice, said at a news conference in Miami following Rocha's hearing.

Commenting on Rocha's actions, US Attorney General Merrick Garland described her as… “One of the largest and longest-running infiltrations of the United States government by a foreign agent.”

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