Is Former State Department Employee And Ambassador, Manuel Rocha, a Cuban Agent?

Arrested on December 1, 2023, former Bolivia Ambassador appeared in federal count in Miami pleading not guilty and requests a jury trial.

Manuel Rocha during a meeting with an undercover FBI agent
Manuel Rocha during a meeting with an undercover FBI agent (Photo: Justice Department via Associated Press)

Rocha, despite his attorney saying he will not be present, showed up in Miami federal court

In a report from NPR, Manual Rocha, aged 73, was not expected to appear in the federal court in Miami because his attorney has already filed a waiver this week. He showed up in handcuffed, wearing a khaki prison jumpsuit and a full beard.

The arraignment was finished in a just a few minutes with Rocha pleading not guilty to the conspiracy charge and numerous counts of fraud. He requests for a jury trial but hasn’t requested a bail hearing. The magistrate judge set a trial date for Rocha in late March.

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Two-decade career as both an American Diplomat and Cuban Agent?

Rocha was charged with acting as Cuba’s illegal foreign agent. The tip is most likely from a Cuban defector, according to Intelligence experts. On November 2023, Rocha was contacted by an undercover FBI agent, and they began a series of meetings in Miami. Rocha was proud of his work describing it as enormous, more than a grand slam.

According to the indictment, Rocha was recruited by the Cuban intelligence agency then he became a US citizen. From 1981 to 2002, he worked in a variety of diplomatic posts. His two-decade career ended as Bolivia ambassador.

However, the Associated Press says that, in 2006, a former CIA operative already received tips from a Cuban defector about Rocha, but the CIA never followed up.

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