World December 5, 2023 | 8:10 am

Manuel Rocha lied in an interview with the FBI while working at the US Embassy in Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo.- Former US diplomat Manuel Rocha, who has been arrested on federal charges related to being an agent of the Cuban government, served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Embassy in Santo Domingo from November 1991 to July 1994. During an FBI vetting interview in May 1994, Rocha falsely stated that he was not aware of any situation in his personal life that might affect his suitability for US government employment.

Subsequently, on January 7, 2017, using his Dominican passport, he traveled from Havana to Panama City and then to Santo Domingo, returning to Miami on January 8, 2017, using his United States passport. Rocha had allegedly worked as an undercover agent for Cuba for decades, abusing his position of trust in the US government to promote the interests of a foreign power.

His employment with the United States Department of State spanned from 1981 to 2002, during which he had access to non-public and classified information and the ability to influence US foreign policy. After leaving the State Department, Rocha continued supporting Cuba’s intelligence services, including advising the Commander of the United States Southern Command from 2006 to around 2012.

The former diplomat Rocha served twice in the Dominican Republic as a North American diplomat and served as president of the mining company Barrick Pueblo Viejo.

The charges against Rocha include conspiring to act as an agent of a foreign government without prior notification to the Attorney General, acting as an agent of a foreign government without prior notification to the Attorney General, and using a passport obtained through false declaration. Rocha admitted to his decades-long work for Cuba during meetings with an undercover FBI agent in 2022 and 2023, spanning approximately 40 years of involvement.

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