Former US Ambassador Taken Into Custody

Former US Ambassador Taken Into Custody

( – During the summer of 2000, Victor Manuel Rocha was sworn in as US Ambassador to Bolivia — his last government position. Before then, the former official served in several high positions at the US Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina; the US Interests Section in Havana, Cuba; and the National Security Council in Washington, DC. In fact, Rocha’s career started in 1981 and ended in 2002. But his service may not have been solely to the United States government and interests — if at all.

On December 3, The Associated Press reported that Rocha was arrested for allegedly serving as an agent of Cuba — in secret. Two anonymous sources familiar with the situation spoke to the news outlet briefly about the charges. One said the Department of Justice (DOJ) believes Rocha was promoting Cuba’s interests without informing the DOJ, as required. The next day, the department issued a press release about the matter. It confirmed that the DOJ is accusing Rocha of acting as an agent of the Cuban government for decades.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said the government believes he purposely “sought out” positions in the US government that would allow him to access “non-public information” and to “affect US foreign policy.” He called the alleged acts an egregious betrayal of trust. FBI Director Christopher Wray echoed Garland’s sentiment. He said the former ambassador not only violated his oath but also turned his back on the American people. He promised to hold Rocha and others who violate such an oath accountable — “no matter how long it takes.”

According to the press release, the government believes Rocha’s unlawful activity started when he became a naturalized US citizen in 1981 and continued until his retirement. He is charged with conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government, acting as an agent of a foreign government without notice, and using a passport obtained by false statement.

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