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1 Mar, 2024 14:00

Cuba accuses US of inventing spy threats

Washington is trying to justify spending more taxpayer money on aggressive foreign policy, Havana has claimed
Cuba accuses US of inventing spy threats

The US falsely accuses other countries of spying while engaging in widespread espionage itself, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Eduardo Rodriguez Parrilla has claimed.

Rodriguez made the comments on Thursday, the same day as the former US ambassador to Bolivia, Victor Manuel Rocha, admitted in a Florida court to spying for the Communist government in Havana.

“The US government, the one that spies and violates citizens’ privacy... the most, invents a foreign threat in data espionage,” the Cuban diplomat wrote on X (formerly Twitter), without directly mentioning Rocha.

“What comes next is more fund raising among [the US] taxpayers and new aggressive steps against third countries,” Rodriguez argued.

Rocha was arrested in Miami, Florida in December on suspicion of working for the Cuban intelligence services for over four decades.

The 73-year-old occupied various high-ranking positions in the US State Department from 1981, including serving as Washington’s ambassador in Bolivia between 2000 and 2002. After leaving the diplomatic service, he became an adviser to the head of the US Southern Command, whose remit covers Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Investigators allege that Rocha, who is Colombian-born, was recruited by Havana’s intelligence operatives in 1973, several years before he became a US citizen. He was charged with secretly passing information to the Cuban government.

Rocha had high-level security clearance which provided allowed access to sensitive data, according to his indictment. The US authorities, however, did not reveal which type of sensitive data he had provided to Cuba.

In conversations with FBI agents posing as Cuban officers, the former diplomat allegedly said that his “number one priority was... any action on the part of Washington that would endanger the life of the [Cuban] leadership, or the revolution itself.” 

During a hearing in a federal court in Miami on Thursday, Rocha agreed to plead guilty to two charges of conspiring to act as an agent of a foreign government. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to dismiss more than a dozen other charges against him, the AP reported.

The former diplomat now faces up to ten years behind bars. His next court appearance is scheduled for mid-April.