The Associated Press reveals that Manuel Rocha, a former American ambassador to Bolivia, has been detained in Miami as part of an ongoing FBI counterintelligence investigation. Rocha, 73, is suspected of covertly acting as a government agent in Cuba. The arrest raises questions about his diplomatic career and involvement in foreign affairs.
FBI Arrest and Investigation Details
Manuel Rocha’s arrest on Friday is linked to a criminal complaint, with specific details expected to be disclosed in a court appearance on Monday. Anonymous sources indicate that the Justice Department is accusing Rocha of furthering the objectives of the Cuban government. This development aligns with the Justice Department’s intensified efforts in enforcing laws related to illicit foreign lobbying.
Diplomatic Career and Background
Rocha, a seasoned diplomat, served in both Democratic and Republican administrations during his 25-year diplomatic career. Born in Colombia and raised in New York City, he held key roles in Latin America during the Cold War. His tenure in Argentina coincided with a political crisis, and as Bolivia’s ambassador, Rocha faced controversy for influencing the 2002 presidential contest.
Controversial Diplomatic Moves
Rocha’s intervention in Bolivia’s 2002 presidential race drew criticism for perceived interference in the democratic process. His warning about U.S. aid being jeopardized if Evo Morales were elected played a role in Morales’s eventual victory. The incident strained diplomatic relations and led to Rocha’s successor being removed on charges of inciting “civil war.”
Post-Diplomatic Career and Business Ventures
After leaving the State Department, Rocha embarked on a business career, becoming president of a gold mine in the Dominican Republic and holding roles in various firms, including Llorente & Cuenca, XCoal, Clover Leaf Capital, and Foley & Lardner. The arrest casts a shadow over his diverse post-diplomatic engagements.
Reactions and Firm Responses
The article notes that Rocha’s wife declined to comment when contacted. Responses from Llorente & Cuenca emphasize commitment to transparency, while there is no immediate comment from XCoal or Clover Leaf Capital. Rocha reportedly left Foley & Lardner in August, leaving unanswered questions about his recent professional associations.
Manuel Rocha’s arrest adds a significant twist to his diplomatic legacy, raising concerns about potential covert activities in Cuba. As the FBI probe unfolds, the former ambassador’s past interventions and business ventures are under scrutiny, shedding light on the complex intersections between diplomacy, personal choices, and legal accountability.