Indicted former U.S. diplomat admits spying for Cuba

(Xinhua) 11:17, March 01, 2024

WASHINGTON, Feb. 29 (Xinhua) -- A former senior U.S. diplomat charged with spying for Cuba admitted Thursday the criminal counts he was accused of by federal prosecutors, U.S. media reported citing his remarks in court.

Victor Manuel Rocha, 73, was accused of committing several federal crimes by acting as a secret agent for Cuba for decades, during which he engaged in "clandestine activities" on behalf of the long-time U.S. foe using the advantage of being a U.S. diplomat.

Rocha was a senior U.S. diplomat whose career involved being the ambassador to Bolivia and serving key posts in the U.S. Embassy in Argentina and the U.S. Interests Section of the Embassy of Switzerland in Havana, Cuba, which was the de-facto U.S. embassy in the Caribbean island country until an embassy was reopened in 2015 following a thaw of bilateral relations.

Rocha told U.S. District Court Judge Beth Bloom that he was "in agreement," according to The Associated Press, when the judge asked him whether he wanted to change his plea from not guilty to guilty.

Specifically, Rocha was charged with conspiring to act as an agent of a foreign government without prior notification to the Attorney General; acting as an agent of a foreign government without prior notification to the Attorney General; and with using a passport obtained by false statement, according to a press release from the Justice Department issued on Dec. 4.

Under federal detention since his arrest on Dec. 1, Rocha pleaded not guilty to the above charges in an arraignment at a Miami, Florida-based federal court on Feb. 16. He is due in court again on April 12.

Little detail was revealed by authorities in Rocha's case, which was instead based largely on the defendant's own admissions made to an undercover agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation posing as a Cuban intelligence operative, The Associated Press reported.

A sentence of yet undisclosed length has been agreed upon by the prosecutors, the report added, citing Rocha's defense lawyer.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


Related Stories