Former US Ambassador To Bolivia Arrested, Accused Of Working As Cuban Agent: REPORT

(Photo by GONZALO ESPINOZA/AFP via Getty Images)

Mariane Angela Contributor
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A seasoned American diplomat and former U.S. ambassador to Bolivia was detained in Miami amid accusations of clandestine activities on behalf of Cuba’s government, Associated Press (AP) reported Sunday.

Manuel Rocha, 73, was arrested on a criminal complaint, with further details anticipated to emerge at a court hearing scheduled for Monday, according to AP. Rocha is suspected of acting in the interests of the Cuban government, according to an AP anonymous source.

Under U.S. law, individuals engaged in political activities for a foreign nation must register with the Justice Department. The department has recently escalated its enforcement against unauthorized foreign lobbying. They have not commented on Rocha’s case. Attempts to reach Rocha for comment were unsuccessful. (RELATED: North Korean Diplomat Takes Pot Shots At US Ambassador During Rare UN Appearance)

Rocha was born in Colombia and raised in a working-class family in New York City. He has a distinguished academic background with degrees from Yale, Harvard, and Georgetown, per AP. He joined the foreign service in 1981, serving in various roles across Latin America during a critical period in Cold War history. His diplomatic career, which spanned both Democratic and Republican administrations, included an assignment at the U.S. Interests Section in Cuba.

Rocha’s tenure as the top U.S. diplomat in Argentina coincided with the collapse of a major economic stabilization program, leading to political turmoil in the country, per AP. As ambassador to Bolivia, he famously intervened in the 2002 presidential election, threatening to withhold U.S. aid if Evo Morales, a former coca grower, was elected. Despite his efforts, Morales was elected three years later.

Post-retirement, Rocha transitioned into business, holding positions in various industries, including mining, legal services, and public relations, per AP.