McCaul, GOP colleagues call on State Dept. to protect nation from more Cuban spies

With former U.S. Ambassador to Bolivia Manuel Rocha charged with being a spy for Cuba, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) and two of his GOP colleagues urged the U.S. State Department to determine the full extent of the damage caused by Rocha’s activities and to protect the nation against further breaches.

“Rocha’s alleged actions, if proven, would represent a serious breach of national security and raise grave questions about the effectiveness of counterintelligence measures to prevent the Cuban regime’s infiltration of the highest levels of the United States government,” wrote Rep. McCaul and the members in a Jan. 3 letter sent to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “The gravity of this situation cannot be understated.”

The U.S. Department of Justice last month indicted Rocha for allegedly colluding with the Cuban dictatorship for more than 40 years to the detriment of America’s interests around the world. 

Rocha is accused of acting on Cuba’s behalf while holding several positions in the U.S. government, including serving in the National Security Council, the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, as the Ambassador to Bolivia, and as an advisor to the Commander of U.S. Southern Command after leaving the State Department.

“His arrest, charges, and potential conviction must serve as a reminder that the Cuban regime remains an active threat to our interests at home and abroad,” the members wrote. “We hope that you will take into account this historic betrayal and end current efforts for closer ties with the tyrants in Havana.”

In addition to determining the damage Rocha has caused, Rep. McCaul and his colleagues wrote that the State Department also must identify any of Rocha’s potential collaborators or enablers, remove his contributions from diplomatic, intelligence, and policy-making databases in regard to Cuba and its allies, and assess the impact on American interests — particularly in the realms of foreign affairs, national security, and intelligence.

“More immediately, as you conduct assessments of Rocha’s impact, we urge the administration to ensure transparency throughout the process,” wrote Rep. McCaul and the members. “Congress and the public deserve to know that measures are being taken to address this breach and prevent similar incidents in the future.

“Within all applicable rules and regulations, we expect your department to address this matter decisively and take the necessary steps to safeguard our nation from similar threats,” they concluded.