Former American ambassador imprisoned over spying


(MENAFN) Former United States Ambassador Victor Manuel Rocha has been handed a 15-year prison sentence after being found guilty of espionage on behalf of Cuba, according to reports from United States media
outlets on Friday. Rocha, who served in various diplomat
ic roles for the United States State Department from 1981 to 2002, including postings in Cuba, Bolivia, and Argentina, was arrested in December 2023 following allegations of spying for the Cuban government
.

The 73-year-old former diplomat
was accused of engaging in intelligence activities against the United States, which led to his arrest after meetings with an undercover FBI agent posing as a representative of Cuba's intelligence agency. Court documents revealed that during these encounters, Rocha openly referred to the United States as "the enemy," expressed admiration for Fidel Castro, and confessed to his espionage activities.

Initially pleading not guilty to the charges in February, Rocha later changed his plea to guilty in order to avoid a trial. He admitted to two charges: conspiring to defraud the United States as a foreign agent and acting as an illegal agent of a foreign government
without registering with United States authorities. As part of the plea agreement, an additional 13 charges against him, including lying to investigators and wire fraud, were dropped.

In addition to the 15-year prison term, Rocha faces three years of supervised release and a hefty USD500,000 fine. Given his age, the sentence effectively amounts to a life term for the former diplomat
. The case highlights the seriousness with which the United States government
treats espionage and underscores the consequences for those found guilty of betraying their country's trust.

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