The former U.S. ambassador to Bolivia, appointed by former President Bill Clinton, was hauled off in cuffs over the weekend in Miami, Florida.
According to the Daily Caller, Manuel Rocha, 73, was arrested in connection to a long-running counterintelligence operation suggesting that he acted as a spy on behalf of the Cuban government.
Described as a "seasoned" U.S. diplomat who held a variety of posts over his long career, Rocha faces accusations of performing clandestine activities on behalf of Cuba.
While more details are expected to be revealed this week during a hearing, an anonymous source briefed the Associated Press on the bombshell arrest.
"A former American diplomat who served as a U.S. ambassador to Bolivia has been arrested and accused of secretly serving as an agent of Cuba’s government...Officials say Manuel Rocha, 73, was arrested in Miami on Friday on a criminal complaint." https://t.co/WeBWD67lDM
— Peter Schweizer (@peterschweizer) December 4, 2023
The Daily Caller noted his credentials and diplomatic experience, both of which are vast.
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.
One of his assignments included on at the U.S. Interests Section in Cuba.
JUST IN: AG Garland announces arrest of longtime US diplomat and former US ambassador to Bolivia Manuel Rocha, charged with acting as Cuban agent. Calls it 'one of highest reaching and longest lasting infiltrations of USG' by foreign agent. pic.twitter.com/iFcLLFTI3D
— Josh Gerstein (@joshgerstein) December 4, 2023
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, in a Monday announcement, called it one of the "highest reaching and longest lasting infiltrations of the U.S. government by a foreign agent."
Details regarding his arrest poured in across media outlets and social media.
USA vs. Manuel Rocha.
- Conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government (Cuba) and to defraud the United States.
- Acting as a foreign government
- Use of a passport obtained by a false statement. pic.twitter.com/4ZLpfJTQQo
— Miguel Cossio (@cossiom) December 4, 2023
Social media users reacted to the shocking news of his arrest and potential level of clandestine operations against the United States.
"It’s unfathomable the damage #ManuelRocha has caused over decades of espionage. Good people who honor the oath are going to work hard to figure it out," wrote former CIA chief of staff Larry Pfeiffer.
Additional details regarding the case are expected to emerge in the coming days.