Manuel Rocha, who was U.S. ambassador to Argentina between 1997 and 2000, was arrested in Miami, accused of having been a spy for the Cuban government.
The former U.S. diplomat who also served as chargé d'affaires during his time in Buenos Aires, then continued his career in Bolivia, in charge of the embassy there. The arrest took place on Friday but was made public on Sunday. It came after a lengthy FBI counterintelligence investigation, in which Rocha is accused of secretly serving as an agent of the Cuban government, the AP has learned.
Manuel Rocha, 73, who was arrested in Miami by the FBI, faces a criminal complaint and more details about the case are expected to be made public at his court appearance Monday, said two sources who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss an ongoing federal investigation.
One of the people said the Justice Department case accuses Rocha of working to advance the interests of the Cuban government. Federal law requires people carrying out political orders from a foreign government or entity inside the United States to register with the Department of Justice, which in recent years has stepped up its criminal enforcement of illicit foreign lobbying.
The U.S. Justice Department declined to comment. It was not immediately clear if Rocha had an attorney and a law firm where he previously worked said it did not represent him. His wife hung up the phone when the AP tried to contact her.
Rocha had served as a diplomat in Cuba prior to his stint in Argentina and Bolivia. He was the number two at the U.S. embassy on the island, where he fell after serving in Honduras and the Dominican Republic.
Manuel Rocha, former U.S. ambassador to Argentina and Bolivia, arrested in Miami.