Former ambassador and high-ranking U.S. State Dept. official Manuel Rocha was caught by the FBI spying for the Cuba. Considering the Castro dictatorship’s history, once he stopped being useful to them, they probably turned him over to the FBI in exchange for some type of concession by the U.S. yet to be disclosed. Once Manuel Rocha ceased being a useful idiot, it’s likely the communist regime converted him into a bargaining chip, and left him as nothing more than a treasonous idiot.
Victor Manuel Rocha: Another agent ‘burned’ by the Cuban regime
At the end of his useful life, it seems Víctor Manuel Rocha was “burned” as an agent by his own bosses in Cuba in exchange for something that has not yet been disclosed by any of the involved parties. A similar case occurred during the dismantling of the Wasp Network in 1998 when Fidel Castro, urgently seeking an opening with the Bill Clinton administration and concerned about his personal security, leaked information about his spies to the FBI.
At that time, the writer Gabriel García Márquez was tasked by the dictator himself to deliver the files to the President of the United States during a dinner to which he was invited in Washington.
These were days when, with the disappearance of economic and military support from the now-defunct Soviet Union, Fidel Castro had no choice but to invent new alliances. Hence the numerous and unusual trips abroad, participation in meetings and summits even in Europe, and the change from his typical military uniform to high-end suits.
The visit by Pope John Paul II in the same year as the dismantling of the Wasp Network, 1998, was an image-cleansing move before the world but primarily a message of “change” directed towards the United States, which the dictatorship needed mainly to neutralize security threats coming from opposition groups primarily based in Florida.
As a risky move, the burning of the Wasp Network was a failure, as it did not yield the results expected by those who orchestrated it. Fidel Castro’s dream was to maintain constant collaboration with the FBI, using his spies on U.S. soil under a sort of “secret license.” However, his calculations with the White House failed, leading to the outburst of rage that later, in 1999, was channeled into the Elián González affair – a political move by Castro aimed at both destabilizing a seemingly unfulfilled promise by the White House and regaining credibility within the official forces after the Wasp Network’s exposure.
Five of the spies went to prison, others made deals with the FBI, and at least a couple of them managed to escape back to Cuba in time, including Olga Salanueva, René González’s wife. Contrary to what the Cuban Government officially claimed, it later became known that she was indeed a Cuban intelligence agent before arriving in the United States.
This information, which didn’t reach the FBI in time, was later provided to the Brazilian writer Fernando Morais by Miguel Álvarez, an advisor to Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada. This extensive leak of secret documents about the case of the five spies led to the imprisonment of the once expert in Cuba-U.S. relations and his wife, Mercedes Arce, both charged with corruption and espionage.
Similarly, in 2013, after the scandal broke, Alarcón was replaced as President of the National Assembly and gradually marginalized from the Cuban political scene after many years serving the regime, especially in relations with the United States.
Alarcón, in his role as Ambassador to the United Nations, and Miguel Álvarez, as an expert advisor, were the main figures on the Cuban side in discussions on migration issues with the U.S. government from 1994 onwards. They were among the most involved in the deployment of the Wasp Network, using their diplomatic facade for the dictatorship. This explains the wealth of classified information they handled, later, and secretly from the Castros, revealed by Fernando Morais in the initial editions of his book “The Last Soldiers of the Cold War” (subsequent editions had altered content, reportedly at the request of the Cuban Government according to some sources consulted by CubaNet).
Returning to the matter of burning agents as a goodwill gesture, the burning of the five spies in 1998 had the frustrated aim of achieving some form of collaboration on national security matters beneficial to both countries.
In fact, it occurred around the same time as the initial dialogue tables on migration issues during a crisis of massive exodus similar to the current situation. Closed-door exchanges, very few of whom can truly know what is being discussed and, above all, what promises are being made by both parties.
The truth is that this new revelation of an agent detained by the FBI, after more than three decades serving the Cuban intelligence services, many years after retiring as an active spy when he is no longer useful to anyone, is beginning to smell like burnt flesh to some. It likely represents a goodwill gesture, probably emerged from a typical dialogue table where “if you give me something, I’ll give you something too,” leaving little room for coincidence.
The Cuban regime and its press have remained silent until now about what undoubtedly constitutes a major scandal. This silence becomes even more suspicious as it occurs amid an international tour that notably includes Iran as one of its most significant stops, and during a situation of ongoing massive exodus that shows no signs of abating, but instead continues to increase despite dialogues and actions to stem it.
Perhaps, far from a signal of collaboration, the revelation of the old agent might be another type of message revealing to the “enemy” the extent of penetration. So much so that, having more, even with licenses from OFAC to export and do business with the dictatorship, they could offer up this old discarded individual. Let’s not expect Víctor Manuel Rocha, the former ambassador, to be the only pawn. Without a doubt, more will come down this road. Because to receive, one must always give.