Press Advisory: CFC alarmed by the Justice Department minimizing the case of Victor Manuel Rocha ahead of tomorrow’s restitution hearing.
Press Advisory

CFC alarmed by the Justice Department minimizing the case of Victor Manuel Rocha ahead of tomorrow’s restitution hearing.

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

Center for a Free Cuba. Washington DC, June 20,  2024. Tomorrow morning [ June 21, 2024 at 9:00am] the Restitution Hearing for Ambassador Rocha will be held at the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida , and presided over by Judge Beth Bloom.

The Justice Department’s stance is alarming, particularly their assertion that the only party injured was the United States government, that there is no justification for compensation for victims, that Rocha is cooperating, and that he did not enter a plea of guilty to spying.
Ambassador Victor Manuel Rocha pleaded guilty to counts 1 and 2 of the indictment on April 12, 2024 in the plea agreement with the U.S. government, “which charged him with conspiring to act as an agent of a foreign government and conspiring to defraud the United States and acting as an agent of a foreign government without notice as required by law.”
The plea agreement with Manuel Rocha is troubling since he did not have to plead to espionage or conspiracy to commit espionage, despite the evidence gathered by the FBI.

Rocha has harmed many.

The Center for a Free Cuba monitors the human rights situation in Cuba, and we believe that Mr. Rocha has done a lot of harm to the Cuban people.
Federal authorities are conducting a confidential damage assessment “that could take years to complete,” according to press reports. If that is the case how can DOJ lawyers make the claim that only the government was harmed?

Unfortunately, as the historical record shows, when Washington tries to turn the page and forgive some of these terrible crimes the matter does not end. Gerardo Hernández convicted of espionage and murder conspiracy in the killings of four Brothers to the Rescue members in 1996, had his sentence commuted by President Obama in 2014, and promptly returned to Cuba.

Hernández is now the National Coordinator of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR), tasked with monitoring neighborhood committees to spy on all Cubans on the island. He was also appointed to the Council of State, the 31-member body that oversees day-to-day life on the island on December 17, 2020.

There are indications that Rocha was advising the Cuban government in the 2012 assassination of Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and Harold Cepero, and the 1996 shootdown of two Brothers to the Rescue planes over international airspace.
What happened to individuals working for the United States in Cuba, and elsewhere if outed by Rocha would they not have suffered tremendously?

Rocha caught on video bragging

Firstly, in the closed captioned video of the meeting with the FBI undercover he bragged: “They underestimated what we could do to them. We did more than they thought and the Direcciôn knows ‘what ROCHA did.” … “What we have done …it’s enormous …More than a grand slam.”

Secondly, 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 Cuban government successfully undermined the national security of the United States, got Cubans and Americans killed on Ambassador Rocha’s watch. Too many continue to underestimate the danger Havana poses despite Ambassador Roche’s disclosures, and this is reflected in how the Department of Justice has treated this traitor. Hopefully committees in the Senate and House of Representatives with DOJ oversight will raise questions in the Rocha case,” observed John Suárez, Executive Director of the Center for a Free Cuba, from Washington.