The stunning postcard-perfect vista surrounding Misael Lopez in this town about one hour from Madrid belies his constant anxiety, even fear.
Lopez, 41, says he reported what he says was a scheme to sell passports and visas for thousands of dollars out of the embassy But it was the response from his government -- which has denied his allegations -- that surprised him the most.
CNN and CNN en Español teamed up in a year-long joint investigation that uncovered serious irregularities in the issuing of Venezuelan passports and visas, including allegations that passports were given to people with ties to terrorism. The investigation involved reviewing thousands of documents, and conducting interviews in the U.S., Spain, Venezuela and the United Kingdom.
One confidential intelligence document obtained by CNN links Venezuela's new Vice President Tareck El Aissami to 173 Venezuelan passports and ID's that were issued to individuals from the Middle East, including people connected to the terrorist group Hezbollah.
U.S. lawmakers heard reports about Venezuelan passport fraud during congressional hearings as far back as 2006. In fact, a congressional report warned, "Venezuela is providing support, including identity documents that could prove useful to radical Islamic groups."
And a state department report at the time also concluded that "Venezuelan travel and identification documents are extremely easy to obtain by persons not entitled to them."
A 2013 confidential intelligence report from a group of Latin American countries obtained by CNN says that from 2008 to 2012, 173 individuals from the Middle East were issued Venezuelan passports and IDs. Among them were people connected to the terrorist group Hezbollah.
The official who ordered the issuing of the passports, the report said, is Tareck El Aissami, who was appointed vice president of Venezuela in January. He is the former minister in charge of immigration as well as a governor.
El Aissami "took charge of issuing, granting visas and nationalizing citizens from different countries, especially Syrians, Lebanese, Jordanians, Iranians and Iraqis," the report said.