Former US Ambassador Manuel Rocha Arrested in Miami, Accused of Working for Cuba
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By The Smartencyclopedia Staff &Agencies

MIAMI — Former US ambassador Manuel Rocha has been arrested in Miami, accused of secretly serving as an agent of Cuba’s government. Rocha, 73, was arrested on Friday and is expected to appear in court on Monday.

Rocha’s 25-year diplomatic career was spent under both Democratic and Republican administrations, much of it in Latin America during the Cold War. He was the top US diplomat in Argentina between 1997 and 2000 and in Bolivia from 2002 to 2005.

In 2002, Rocha warned that the US would cut off assistance to Bolivia if it were to elect former coca grower Evo Morales. Morales was eventually elected in 2005, and Rocha’s successor as chief of the diplomatic mission was expelled from the country.

Following his retirement from the State Department, Rocha began a second career in business, serving as the president of a gold mine in the Dominican Republic partly owned by Canada’s Barrick Gold. More recently, he’s held senior roles at XCoal, a Pennsylvania-based coal exporter; Clover Leaf Capital, a company formed to facilitate mergers in the cannabis industry; law firm Foley & Lardner; and Spanish public relations firm Llorente & Cuenca.

Rocha’s arrest is the latest in a series of cases brought by the Justice Department against individuals accused of working illegally on behalf of foreign governments. The charges against Rocha are based on federal law that requires people doing the political bidding of a foreign government or entity inside the US to register with the Justice Department.

Rocha’s lawyer, Dario Alvarez, said in an email that his firm is “committed to transparency” and will “cooperate fully with the authorities if any information becomes available to us.”

XCoal and Clover Leaf Capital did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Foley & Lardner said Rocha left the law firm in August.

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