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Former US diplomat accused of spying for Cuba indicates he plans to plead guilty, court docket shows

By Hannah Rabinowitz, CNN

(CNN) — Manuel Rocha, the former US ambassador to Bolivia accused of acting as a secret foreign agent of Cuba, said in court Thursday that he plans to plead guilty to charges, according to his court docket.

Rocha, 73, is charged with several counts, including acting as an illegal agent of a foreign government, wire fraud and making false statements to investigators. Prosecutors have alleged that the former American diplomat acted as a “covert agent of Cuba’s intelligence services” for decades.

During a hearing in Miami Thursday, Rocha and prosecutors “announce[d] the Defendant will be changing his plea,” according to the court docket. Rocha pleaded not guilty earlier this month.

The court record does not give any information about what charges Rocha plans to plead guilty to. He is scheduled to return to court on April 12.

Rocha served as the US ambassador to Bolivia from 2000 to 2002 and as the deputy principal officer of the US Interests Section in Cuba in the 1990s. Rocha also worked for the US Embassy in the Dominican Republic in the 1980s as well as the US Consulate in Italy, and he served in different roles for US embassies in Mexico and Argentina.

His role as the political officer at the US Embassy in the Dominican Republic gave him “special responsibility” for Cuba, prosecutors alleged.

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.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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