Alarming Allegations Ex-U.S. Ambassador Manuel Rocha Linked to Cuban Intelligence, Arrested

Alarming Allegations: Ex-U.S. Ambassador Manuel Rocha Linked to Cuban Intelligence, Arrested

A former American diplomat, Manuel Rocha, who previously served as the U.S. ambassador to Bolivia, has been apprehended in Miami as part of a lengthy FBI counterintelligence inquiry. Anonymous sources revealed to The Associated Press that the 73-year-old diplomat is accused of clandestinely acting as an agent for the government of Cuba.

Rocha’s arrest took place on Friday, and additional details about the case are expected to be disclosed during a court appearance on Monday, according to the sources, who requested anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the ongoing federal investigation.

According to one source, the Justice Department’s case alleges that Rocha actively worked to advance the interests of the Cuban government. Federal law mandates that individuals engaged in political activities on behalf of a foreign government or entity within the United States must register with the Justice Department.

In recent years, the department has intensified its criminal enforcement of unlawful foreign lobbying.

The Justice Department has refrained from providing comments on the matter. Whether Rocha has legal representation remains unclear, and the law firm he was associated with earlier has stated that they are not representing him. When contacted by the AP, Rocha’s wife hung up without providing any information.

Rocha, whose 25-year diplomatic career spanned Democratic and Republican administrations, focused much of his service in Latin America during the Cold War. His diplomatic assignments included a period at the U.S. Interests Section in Cuba, a time when full diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Fidel Castro’s communist government were absent.

Born in Colombia and raised in a working-class household in New York City, Rocha acquired liberal arts degrees from Yale, Harvard, and Georgetown before joining the foreign service in 1981. He served as the top U.S. diplomat in Argentina from 1997 to 2000, during a turbulent period marked by a currency crisis and political instability.

In his subsequent role as ambassador to Bolivia, Rocha directly intervened in the 2002 presidential race by issuing a warning weeks before the vote, indicating that the U.S. would terminate assistance to the South American country if former coca grower Evo Morales were elected.

Rocha made a speech that was widely seen as an attempt to maintain American dominance in the area. “I want to remind the Bolivian electorate that if they vote for those who want Bolivia to return to exporting cocaine, that will seriously jeopardize any future aid to Bolivia from the United States,” Rocha said.

The Bolivian public was incensed by the gambit, providing Morales with a last-minute surge. Three years later, when Morales secured his election, he ousted Rocha’s successor as the head of the diplomatic mission, accusing them of inciting “civil war.”

Rocha’s diplomatic service extended to Italy, Honduras, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic, and he also contributed his expertise on Latin America to the National Security Council.

When contacted by the AP, Rocha’s wife, Karla Wittkop Rocha, declined to comment, stating, “I don’t need to talk to you,” before hanging up.

Upon retiring from the State Department, Rocha embarked on a new career in business, taking on the role of president at a gold mine in the Dominican Republic, which was partially owned by Canada’s Barrick Gold.

In more recent times, he has held prominent positions at XCoal, a coal exporter based in Pennsylvania; Clover Leaf Capital, a company focused on facilitating mergers in the cannabis industry; the law firm Foley & Lardner; and Spanish public relations firms Llorente & Cuenca.

CEO of Llorente & Cuenca’s U.S. business Dario Alvarez sent an email saying, “Our firm remains committed to transparency and will closely monitor the situation, cooperating fully with the authorities if any information becomes available to us.”

With more than two years of expertise in news and analysis, Eileen Stewart is a seasoned reporter. Eileen is a respected voice in this field, well-known for her sharp reporting and insightful analysis. Her writing covers a wide range of subjects, from politics to culture and more.