The Venezuelan Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, has been selling passports to the highest bidder for several years, including criminals and terrorists, according to CNN and other news reports. They can use them to enter 130 nations without a visa, though not the U.S
“Here, people pay a lot of money to get a visa or passport to leave this country,” a former Venezuelan Embassy official who worked in Iraq, Misguel Lopez, told CNN’s Drew Griffin.He said an Iraqi employee working at the embassy told him after he started his job there in 2013 “you can make lot of money with that.
“They pay $10,000 [U.S. dollars] for a visa.
One Iraqi woman offered him thousands for one.
“Then I got really, really mad,” Lopez said. “I told her: ‘How could you think I’m going to be selling visas or passports, and who was the person that was supposedly going to get the document?”
The Iraqi woman responded, “an Arab guy,” Lopez told Griffin.
He said the woman told him 13 Syrians offered to pay as much as $18,000 each for visas.
“I suspect that they might be terrorists,” Lopez said. “That’s why I object, of course, immediately.”
Lopez said he documented the scheme and disclosed it early the next year to Venezuelan Ambassador Jonathan Velasco.
“Sometimes, he used to say: ‘Caracas do not need to know about that,'” Lopez told Griffin.
Velasco allegedly threatened Lopez’s job — and he sent an email report to Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez in April 2014.
Lopez subsequently lost his job by the end of 2015. He also talked with the FBI at the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, according to the report.
The agency submitted its data to Washington.
Given the impoverishment in this socialist state, would anyone doubt some Venezuelans might think this is an acceptable way for some to make money? On the other hand, the report comes from CNN.
Mr. Velasco was questioned by CNN’s Drew Griffin but Velasco called Mr. Lopez a liar.