American Citizen Held in Venezuela Released, Trump Announces

29 May, 2018, 08:03 | Author: Diane Mills
  • Freed after 2 years man jailed in Venezuela returns to US Donald Trump welcomes him'home

U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Saturday that Venezuela has released American Joshua Holt after almost two years in jail in the leftist-ruled country. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) personally met with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

"Looking forward to seeing Joshua Holt this evening in the White House", he tweeted.

Holt was arrested on weapons charges almost two years ago, after going to Venezuela in 2016 to marry a woman he met online while looking for Spanish-speaking Mormons to help him learn the language.

US officials say the charges against Holt were politically motivated.

Finally, through the Senate office of Senator Orrin Hatch and the State Department, the Maduro government relented and released Josh and his wife from custody. On Tuesday, Venezuela ejected the top United States diplomat in the country. When the once-unimaginable voyage resumed Holt had a big smile on his face, Corker told Trump in an Oval Office meeting Saturday night surrounded by the Utah man and his family.

RIVERTON (News4Utah) - As Josh Holt anxiously awaits for his return to Utah with his Venezuelan wife and step-daughter, the city of Riverton is preparing for their homecoming.

The Venezuelan government said Holt and his wife were freed in a goodwill gesture to the USA, a measure that surprised some knowing the combative history between the two nations. "Sanctions continue until democracy returns to Venezuela", Pence said in a tweet.

Other members of Congress expressed their elation over Holt's release. "That was a tough situation", Trump told Josh Holt, who sat to his right.

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A source familiar with the issue who asked to remain anonymous said there was no quid pro quo or agreement to ease USA sanctions tied to Holt's release, and that Trump was not involved in the final negotiations.

In a harrowing recent Facebook post, Holt pleaded for help and for his life, from a Caracas jail. "I need your help to get me out of this place", Holt said in the video.

Holt was arrested on weapons charged during a trip to Venezuela to marry a woman he'd met on a website to practice Spanish.

"We thank you for your collaboration during this time of anguish", Holt's family said in a statement to The Associated Press on Saturday. Police allegedly found a cache of weapons and evidence he was involved in the assassination plot of a Venezuelan official.

'We just want you to know that when you look over your tenure in the Presidency, this is one of the many great things you're doing.

But US officials immediately squelched any suggestion that punitive measures against Venezuela would be eased after the release of Joshua Holt, 26, and his wife Thamara Caleno.

After being sworn in for a new six-year term this week - in a vote condemned by the U.S.as a "sham" after the main opposition parties boycotted it - Maduro called for the release of some detained prisoners, without naming anyone specifically.

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