Cuban exiles demonstrate in front of a court in Miami in December 2023 demanding harsh punishment for former ambassador Manuel Rocha.
Image: EPA

It is one of the most far-reaching espionage cases in the USA: Manuel Rocha was a member of the National Security Council under President Bill Clinton, and later he was ambassador to Bolivia. He was an agent of Cuba.

WA former US ambassador to the United States has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for decades of espionage for Cuba. 73-year-old Victor Manuel Rocha received the maximum possible sentence on Friday in federal court in Miami, Florida. He was also fined $500,000 (470,000 euros).

Rocha was arrested in December. The former US ambassador to Bolivia was accused of “one of the most far-reaching and long-running” cases of infiltration of the American government by a foreign agent. Rocha is said to have spied as an agent for Cuba since 1981 and to have repeatedly described the USA as an “enemy”.

The native Colombian, who was naturalized in the USA, began his career in the US State Department in 1981 and worked in the US diplomatic service, among other places in the Cuban capital Havana and in Mexico City. Rocha was a member of the National Security Council under President Bill Clinton from 1994 to 1995 and then ambassador to Bolivia under Clinton and his successor George W. Bush from 2000 to 2002.

During his work, Rocha had access to confidential information and classified documents, said the US Department of Justice. He was also able to influence American foreign policy.

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