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Former U.S. Diplomat Charged With Acting As Agent Of Cuba

A former diplomat who served as U.S. ambassador to Bolivia has been arrested in a long-running FBI counterintelligence investigation, accused of secretly serving as an agent of Cuba’s government. Manuel Rocha, 73, was arrested in Miami on Friday on a criminal complaint. the Associated Press reports. One source said the Justice Department case accuses Rocha of working to promote the Cuban government’s interests. Federal law requires people doing the political bidding of a foreign government or entity inside the U.S. to register with the Justice Department, which has stepped up its criminal enforcement of illicit foreign lobbying.


Rocha's 25-year diplomatic career was spent under both Democratic and Republican administrations, much of it in Latin America during the Cold War, a period of sometimes heavy-handed U.S. political and military policies. His diplomatic postings included a stint at the U.S. Interests Section in Cuba when the U.S. lacked full diplomatic relations with Fidel Castro’s communist government. Born in Colombia, Rocha was raised in a working-class home in New York City and went on to obtain liberal arts degrees from Yale, Harvard and Georgetown before joining the foreign service in 1981. He was the top U.S. diplomat in Argentina between 1997 and 2000 as a decade-long currency stabilization program backed by Washington was unraveling under the weight of huge foreign debt and stagnant growth, triggering a political crisis that would see the South American country cycle through five presidents in two weeks.

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