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You are here News International Former US ambassador sentenced to 15 years in prison for serving as secret agent for Cuba

Former US ambassador sentenced to 15 years in prison for serving as secret agent for Cuba

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Manuel Rocha gets fifteen years

A former career U.S. diplomat was sentenced Friday to 15 years in federal prison after admitting he worked for decades as a secret agent for communist Cuba, a plea agreement that leaves many unanswered questions about a betrayal that stunned the U.S. foreign service.

Manuel Rocha, 73, will also pay a $500,000 fine and cooperate with authorities after pleading guilty to conspiring to act as an agent of a foreign government. In exchange, prosecutors dismissed more than a dozen other counts, including wire fraud and making false statements.

“Your actions were a direct attack to our democracy and the safety of our citizens,” U.S. District Court Judge Beth Bloom told Rocha.

Rocha, dressed in a beige jail uniform, asked his friends and family for forgiveness. “I take full responsibility and accept the penalty,” he said.

The sentencing capped an exceptionally swift criminal case and averted a trial that would have shed new light on what, exactly, Rocha did to help Cuba even as he worked for two decades for the U.S. State Department.

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