American man freed from Venezuelan prison

Glen Norman
May 29, 2018

Holt met with Trump at the White House Saturday following his return back to the U.S.

U.S. President Donald Trump talks to the media as he greet Josh Holt, an American missionary who was released by Venezuela, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 26, 2018.

The wife of the American man held for two years in jail in Venezuela says they anxious until their plane was in the air that their release and flight to the US would somehow fall apart. "Not really the great vacation I was looking for". "There wasn't an hour or minute that you weren't thinking about this man". Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch said on Twitter Saturday, May 26, 2018, that Joshua Holt had been released. "You've gone through a lot - more than most people could endure".

Corker, who led efforts to get Holt and his wife released, traveled to Venezuela to meet with President Nicolás Maduro and said it was "quite an experience".

There is no doubt that Maduro was also hoping that the Republican Senator holding the position of Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee could help them to reverse or to stop more sanctions.

The release of Holt and his wife and their departure for Washington came one day after Republican Sen. Trump said in a tweet.

Following the vote, Maduro expelled USA charge d'affaires Todd Robinson and his deputy for allegedly conspiring to sabotage the vote by pressuring opposition parties to boycott the election, which had the lowest voter turnout in decades. (Holt family photo via AP) In this image provided by the Holt family, Joshua Holt, his wife Thamara and her daughter Marian.

"Good news about the release of the American hostage from Venezuela", Trump tweeted.

"This type of gesture. allows us to consolidate what has always been our standpoint: dialogue, agreement, respect for our independence, respect for our sovereignty", Rodriguez said.

Joshua Holt, 26, 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.

Instead, the couple was arrested at her family's government housing complex on the outskirts of Caracas.

After Trump tightened the sanctions on Monday, Maduro retaliated by giving the two top USA diplomats in the country 48 hours to leave, accusing them of conspiring against his government.

Holt and his wife were being held at a prison in Caracas known as the Helicoide where the Sebin keeps political prisoners.

Mr Holt's release looked unlikely 10 days ago, when he appeared in a clandestinely shot video released on Facebook railing against the Maduro Government and saying his life was threatened in a prison riot.

In retaliation, socialist party boss Diosdado Cabello, a powerful Maduro ally, said on state television that Mr Holt was the CIA's top spy in Latin America.

At the same time, the Trump administration was intensifying a campaign to isolate Venezuela's government, sanctioning dozens of officials, including Maduro, for human rights abuses and drug trafficking while threatening a more crippling ban on oil shipments.

Holt's mother Laurie did not immediately respond to a request for comment. He had lost a considerable amount of weight and was suffering from kidney stones and painful tooth decay, they said.

In a statement, the Holt family said, "We thank you for your collaboration during this time of anguish. I need your help to get me out of this place", Holt said in the video.

In a statement Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo nodded to the efforts of those who had followed Holt's plight.

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