Press Advisory: Former U.S. Ambassador Victor Manuel Rocha pleads guilty to spying for Havana while widow of murdered Cuban dissident files wrongful death suit against confessed spy.

Press Advisory

Former U.S. Ambassador Victor Manuel Rocha pleads guilty to spying for Havana while widow of Cuban dissident files wrongful death suit against confessed spy.

CFC executive director asks will Rocha’s disclosures lead to the end of underestimating the danger communist Cuba poses”

Contacts: John Suarez (612)-367-6845 and Janisset Rivero (786)-208-6056

Center for a Free Cuba. Washington DC, March 1, 2024, Washington, DC. Former U.S. diplomat Ambassador Víctor Manuel Rocha pleaded guilty to spying for the communist Cuba yesterday, while the widow of Cuban opposition leader Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, murdered by that same regime, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Rocha for the acts of espionage that contributed to Payá’s extrajudicial killing in 2012.

The responsibility of the Cuban government in the deaths of Payá and Harold Cepero was exposed in the admissibility report on the case published by the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights of the Organization of American States, in June 2023.

“I am looking for what I have always looked for: truth, justice and for the regime and its accomplices to stop acting with impunity,” Ofelia Acevedo said in a statement released to the international press. The Associated Press published a report on this action with the headline “Family of Cuban dissident who died in mysterious car crash sues accused American diplomat-turned-spy” The Center for a Free Cuba’s X account responded with the following correction: It was not a “mysterious car crash” but a “car crash provoked by Cuban state agents” linking it to a 2023 statement from the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights NGO.

The lawsuit was filed in Miami-Dade County hours before Rocha pled guilty to spying for Havana for four decades from his positions as a diplomat and advisor to the National Security Council where he had access to classified information, precisely during the period in which Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero were leading opposition initiatives reported on by the U.S. Interests Section.

The Center for a Free Cuba’s executive director made the case that this should impact Ambassador Rocha’s punishment.

“The Intelligence Directorate (DI) of Communist Cuba, for whom Ambassador Roche worked, extrajudicially executed dissidents Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero on July 22, 2012. Ofelia Payá Acevedo, Oswaldo’s widow, is charging that Rocha is an accomplice in these murders. The information provided by Ambassador Rocha to the DI contributed to their deaths, and the coverup that followed. Hopefully this will be taken into account during Rocha’s sentencing,” said John Suarez in a thread over X on February 29, 2024
U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland asserted that Rocha’s espionage was “one of the highest-reaching and longest-lasting infiltrations of the U.S. government by a foreign agent.”

Havana has had as a systematic policy of infiltrating and recruiting agents at all levels of the United States government such as the Pentagon, the State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Council without counting on institutions of higher education,media and other organizations in the United States, such as the cases of Ana Belén Montes, Walter Kendall Myers, Philip Agee, Manuel Rocha and the Wasp Network, among others, whose actions have claimed innocent lives of citizens from the United States, Cuba, El Salvador, and elsewhere.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2014 issued a report that the DI in Cuba, like other enemies of America, targets U.S. professors and students to betray their country.

Havana gathers intelligence information to sell it to countries and terrorist groups that are enemies of the United States. The Cuban dictatorship also uses these spies to engage in influence operations to advance its political and economic objectives in the United States and internationally, and to divide, discredit, and murder regime opponents inside and outside of Cuba.

“The communist dictatorship in Cuba has successfully undermined the national security of the United States, helped to flood drugs into America killing thousands, aided terrorist groups to carry out attacks in America and around the world, and engaged in subversion and murder of innocent people, but too many continue to underestimate the danger it poses. Will this finally change with Ambassador Roche’s disclosures?” asked John Suárez, Executive Director of the Center for a Free Cuba, from Washington.