The Manuel Rocha story in two headlines.
Ex-ambassador: Jacksonville should ready for U.S.-Cuban trade – Florida Times Union
Former US ambassador arrested, accused of secretly serving as agent to Cuba: report – FOX News
Rocha was allegedly quite ready for some Cuban trade.
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, according to The Associated Press.
Officials say Manuel Rocha, 73, was arrested in Miami on Friday on a criminal complaint.
One of the two people who came forward with the complaint said the Justice Department case accuses Rocha of working to promote the Cuban government’s interests.
How many of these people are embedded in our system?
In several meetings with an undercover FBI employee posing as a member of Cuban intelligence, Rocha repeatedly referred to the US as “the enemy” and praised Cuban revolutionary and politician Fidel Castro, according to court documents.
During their first meeting, Rocha allegedly told the undercover employee that the Cuban intelligence agency, called the Dirección General de Inteligencia, “asked me … to lead a normal life,” and said that he has “created the legend of a right-wing person.”
“I always told myself, ‘The only thing that can put everything we have done in danger is – is … someone’s betrayal, someone who may have met me, someone who may have known something at some point,” Rocha said, according to a recording of the meeting cited in court documents.
He allegedly added: “My number one concern; my number one priority was … any action on the part of Washington that would – would endanger the life of — of the leadership, or the — or the revolution itself.”
During another meeting several weeks later, Rocha allegedly described obtaining his State Department employment to the undercover employee, saying “I went little by little … It was a very meticulous process … very disciplined – but very disciplined.”
“I knew exactly how to do it and obviously the Dirección accompanied me… they knew that I knew how to do it… It’s a long process and it wasn’t easy,” he said, according to prosecutors.
Rocha also allegedly boasted about his “decades” of work on behalf of the Cuban government, saying that it “strengthened the revolution” over “the last 40 years,” and lamented “the blows that the enemy,” allegedly referring to the US government, “has dealt to the current revolution.”
Rocha had a significant role in more than Bolivia. He headed the U.S. interests section in Cuba and continued to be involved in various policy areas, including the Cuban immigration deal under Obama and took part in the University of Miami’s Cuban Transition Project. In short just the kind of guy that the Cuban regime would be interested in.
Foley & Lardner quickly scrubbed any mention of Rocha, whom they had previously quoted on the entry of Cuban trade into Florida, but it’s instructive to look at his argument for ending the embargo all the way back in 2009.
Jacksonville should prepare for a future boom in trade between the United States and Cuba because “change is in the air” regarding the decades-old embargo that has stifled interaction between the countries, a former U.S. ambassador to Bolivia said Tuesday.
V. Manuel Rocha, who is senior adviser on international business at Foley & Lardner LLP, said it’s not realistic to predict how many more years the embargo will remain in place.
Rocha said it wouldn’t necessarily be better for U.S. businesses if Cuba were to change its communist government. He said the current leadership of Cuba wants to ensure a “successor” form of government so future leaders maintain a connection with the revolution that brought the Communist Party to power.
He said the other alternative for Cuba would entail a tumultuous “transition” from the Communist Party to another form of government. He compared that possibility to the turmoil that occurred after the break-up of the Soviet Union.
“There are more McDonald’s in ‘successor’ China than in ‘transition’ Russia because of the stability” in China, he said.
Very tellingly, Rocha was pitching American businesses on the idea that it would be better for them if Cuba remained a Communist dictatorship.
These people aren’t hard to spot, we so rarely bother to spot them or to do anything about them.