Manuel Rocha, a former US diplomat and ambassador to Bolivia who was arrested Friday, appeared in federal court Monday to face charges he served "as a covert agent" and collected intelligence for the Republic of Cuba.
In a statement, US Attorney General Merrick Garland said Rocha served as an agent of the Cuban government for more than 40 years, and he "sought out and obtained positions" that would grant him access to "non-public" information about US foreign policy.
The US government — administration to administration, regardless of political party — was clearly unaware that Rocha was betraying the country for more than four decades. At the very least someone should have realized that Rocha, who negatively impacted the 2002 presidential election in Bolivia, was deeply problematic and needed further investigation.
This arrest was a victory for the DOJ and FBI. They caught wind of Rocha’s betrayal of the US in November 2022 and it took just about a year to accumulate enough evidence to bring him in. During the investigation, the FBI was able to acquire vital intelligence that could help with future investigations or dealings with Cuba in the future.