Manuel Rocha
He was arrested in Florida La Razon Bolivia

Manuel Rocha, a former top U.S. diplomat in Latin America, could face up to 60 years in prison if he's found guilty of the 15 counts leveled against him for allegedly being a Cuban spy.

The trial against Rocha was set to begin on Wednesday, but was postponed until December 12. He'll be formally accused of acting as an illegal agent of a foreign government and of defrauding the United States. Other charges include making false statements in a passport request and using a passport obtained through false statements.

As part of his employment at the State Department, prosecutors said Rocha had periodic high-level security clearances and gained access to top secret information. He also held different positions at the National Security Council and at the U.S. Southern Command, giving him access to highly sensitive information and the ability to shape U.S. policy towards Cuba and the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Rocha was arrested in Miami earlier this week after discussing his actions with an undercover FBI agent who pretended to be a Cuban intelligence office called Miguel. The recorded meetings, which took place between 2022 and 2023, show Rocha describing the U.S. as "the enemy" and saying his greatest goal when working for the State Department for almost 40 years was "strengthening the Cuban revolution."

"I have to protect what we did because what we did...(it's) the cement that has strengthened the last 40 years," Rocha allegedly told the undercover agent during one of their meeting. "What we have done ... it's enormous. ... More than a grand slam," he said.

Rocha was the U.S. ambassador to Bolivia in 2002 and and Deputy Mission Chief to Argentina between 1997 and 2000. He also held positions at the embassies to Honduras, Mexico and the Dominican Republic during his stint at the State Department, which began in 1981.

An affidavit filed in support of the complaint did not provide details about the information that prosecutors allege Rocha shared with the Cubans.

"For over 40 years Víctor Manuel Rocha served as an agent of the Cuban government and sought and obtained positions within the United States' government that provided him access to non-public information and the ability to influence the United States' foreign policy," said Attorney General Merrick Garland following his arrest.

Garland added that Rocha's arrest exposes "one of the highest-reaching and longest-lasting infiltrations of the U.S. government by a foreign agent." "He secretly supported Cuba and its clandestine intelligence-gathering mission against the U.S. serving as an undercover agent," the Attorney General added.

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