Victor Manuel in Prison x Treason!
Members of the Assembly of the Cuban Resistance hold placards and flags during a rally demanding the 'maximum sentence' for former US diplomat and alleged Cuban spy, Victor Rocha, in front of the Federal Court Wilke D. Ferguson Jr., in Miami, Florida, USA, 09 April 2024. EFE/EPA/CRISTOBAL HERRERA-ULASHKEVICH

Victor Manuel in Prison x Treason!


Miami, US, Apr 12 (EFE) –

Former US ambassador Victor Manuel Rocha was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Friday in a Miami federal court for spying on the United States on behalf of the Cuban government for 40 years.

Rocha, 73, a former US diplomat who served as ambassador to Bolivia and a member of the National Security Council, pleaded guilty to “secretly acting for decades as an agent of the government of the Republic of Cuba,” according to a statement from the US Department of Justice.

The Colombian-born ex-diplomat, who was arrested in Miami last December, was also charged with a dozen other counts related to fraud and falsification of documents.

In a hearing that lasted about four hours, during which a dozen exile protesters crowded the courtroom to demand a maximum sentence, Judge Beth Bloom handed down the 15-year sentence and a half-million-dollar fine.

“While holding various senior positions in the US government, he was secretly acting as the Cuban government’s agent. That is a staggering betrayal of the American people,” said prosecutor David Newman at a press conference at the end of the hearing.

During Friday’s hearing, the judge received petitions from Cuban defectors, including the widow and daughter of the late Cuban opposition leader Oswaldo Payá, who died in a mysterious car accident in 2012.

In a letter to the judge on Friday, both expressed concern about the terms of the plea agreement between Rocha and the US government, which was finally amended during the hearing.

Ofelia Acevedo Maura and Rosa María Payá Acevedo, widow and daughter, respectively, said they were “deeply troubled” by a guilty plea that “sets a dangerous precedent in cases of this magnitude” because it “removes the discretion” of the court to “address the full extent of the harm caused by the defendant.”

Acevedo filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Rocha earlier this year, accusing him of providing information that encouraged Cuba to kill her husband.

Between 1981 and 2002, Rocha served in the US State Department, holding various positions at the embassies in the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Mexico, and Argentina, including director for Inter-American Affairs at the National Security Council with special responsibility for Cuba from 1994 to 1995, deputy chief of mission at the US Interests Section in Havana from 1995 to 1997, and ambassador to Bolivia from 1999 to 2002.

After leaving the State Department, Rocha served as an advisor to the commander of the US military’s Southern Command from about 2006 to about 2012.

During and after his career, Rocha presented himself as a hard-line Republican and anti-communist, most recently as a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump, but he pleaded guilty to being a Cuban secret agent all along. EFE


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