Former US Diplomat Pleads Guilty To Spying For Cuba

Former U.S. Diplomat Victor Manuel Rocha pled guilty on Thursday to over 40 years of working undercover for the Cuban government while he was employed with the U.S. State Department.

Reuters statement on Victor Manuel Rocha on X.

After joining the State Department in 1981, Rocha served as a diplomat to Latin America in a number of roles, most notably as the United States Ambassador to Bolivia from 2000 to 2002.

Rocha recently met with someone who he thought was a member of the Cuban General Directorate of Intelligence in 2022 and 2023. Over the course of these three meetings with an undercover FBI agent, Rocha revealed that he routinely passed along classified information to the Cuban government. The nature of the information is unknown, but Rocha had one goal in mind.

“My number one concern; my number one priority was any action on the part of Washington that would endanger the life of the leadership, or the revolution itself. I went little by little. It was a very meticulous process. Very disciplined. What we have done, it’s enormous. More than a grand slam. It was decades.”

This case has rocked the U.S. intelligence community to its very core. Attorney General Merrick Garland made a statement following Rocha’s arrest in December 2023.
Merrick Garland’s statement on Victor Manuel Rocha

James Olson, a former CIA operative is also angered by how long Rocha remained under the radar. But he’s not surprised.

“I would rank them as probably the most aggravating intelligence service I’ve ever worked against,” he said. “That’s not just because they’re so devious and so ruthless, but because they’re so good.”

But Rocha is just one of a number of agents who have operated on U.S. soil over the decades. This is the GDI’s M.O. The Cuban government has had at least 38 double agents operate on U.S. soil, according to a Cuban defector.

After decades of espionage on behalf of the Cuban government, Rocha is set to be sentenced in Miami on April 12. Even after pleading guilty in exchange for the prosecution dropping more than a dozen other charges, his crimes carry a maximum total sentence of 15 years in prison.

Rocha is 73 years old. If he receives the maximum amount of time behind bars, he likely won’t live outside of prison walls as a free man again. He is currently charged with two counts of conspiring to act as an agent of a foreign government.