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An ex-US ambassador charged with being a longtime secret agent for Cuba bragged about it to undercover FBI officer, feds allege

Victor Rocha.
Former US State Department employee Victor Rocha was federally charged over accusations that he worked as a longtime spy for Cuba.DOJ
  • An ex-US diplomat has been federally charged over allegations he worked as a secret agent for Cuba.

  • Federal prosecutors allege that Victor Rocha served as a spy for more than 40 years.

  • Feds allege that Rocha even bragged about his work for Cuba as "more than a grand slam."

A former United States diplomat has been arrested on federal charges over accusations that he worked as a secret agent for Cuba for more than 40 years, the Department of Justice said on Monday.

Victor Rocha, an ex-State Department employee who served on the National Security Council and a former US ambassador to Bolivia, even bragged about his alleged spy work to an undercover FBI agent, describing it as "more than a grand slam," federal prosecutors allege in unsealed court documents.

It was not immediately clear if Rocha had an attorney representing him.

Rocha, 73, was arrested where he lives in Miami, Florida, on multiple charges, including acting as an illegal agent of a foreign government and conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government to defraud the US.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement that Rocha's arrest "exposes one of the highest-reaching and longest-lasting infiltrations of the United States government by a foreign agent."

Garland said that Rocha "sought out and obtained positions within the United States government that would provide him with access to non-public information and the ability to affect US foreign policy."

"Those who have the privilege of serving in the government of the United States are given an enormous amount of trust by the public we serve," said Garland. "To betray that trust by falsely pledging loyalty to the United States while serving a foreign power is a crime that will be met with the full force of the Justice Department."

Federal prosecutors allege that Rocha, who was born in Colombia and later became a naturalized US citizen, "secretly supported the Republic of Cuba and its clandestine intelligence-gathering mission against the United States by serving as a covert agent of Cuba's intelligence services" since 1981, according to court documents.

According to the affidavit filed with a criminal complaint against Rocha, federal officials allege that he had a series of meetings during 2022 and 2023 with an undercover FBI agent posing as a covert Cuban General Directorate of Intelligence rep, and during those meetings admitted his longtime work for Cuba.

During one of those meetings, Rocha touted the spy work, saying, "What has been done, has strengthened the Revolution," the court papers allege.

"They underestimated what we could do to them. We did more than they thought," Rocha told the undercover fed, the court documents allege. "What we have done … it's enormous … more than a grand slam."

According to the feds, Rocha praised late Cuban leader Fidel Castro and consistently referred to the US as "the enemy" during the meetings.

Rocha began his State Department career in 1981 and worked in a variety of roles, the Department of Justice said in its arrest announcement. He served on the National Security Council from 1994 to 1995 and then as US ambassador to Bolivia from 2000 to 2002.

Since he left the Department of State, Rocha held a series of "lucrative" private-sector jobs, the court papers say. From about 2006 until 2012, Rocha was an advisor to the commander of the US Southern Command, a joint command of the US military whose area of responsibility includes Cuba.

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