Trump says American prisoner in Venezuela has been released

Aaron Brown
May 27, 2018

Orrin Hatch (R) said in separate posts on Twitter.

President Trump is celebrating the release of an American hostage from a Venezuelan prison.

Holt and his family have always maintained his innocence, saying he traveled to Venezuela in June 2016 to marry Thamara Caleño, a fellow Mormon whom he met on a religious dating site.

The diplomacy succeeded despite tense relations between the US and Venezuela, with the Trump administration slapping increasingly severe sanctions on the socialist regime.

Holt had gone to Venezuela in June 2016 to marry a woman he met online while looking for Spanish-speaking Mormons who could help him improve his Spanish.

Venezuela claimed he had weapons in his wife's family's apartment.

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Josh Holt, the man with ties to Pocatello, and his wife Thamy has been released from a Venezuelan jail.

Holt's release comes more than a week after he posted videos to Facebook during a prison riot, pleading for help from Americans and the U.S. government. US Rep. Mia Love, a Utah Republican, tweeted, "After almost 2 years, Josh Holt is finally coming home!"

Holt and his wife were reunited at the Caracas airport with her daughter from a previous relationship, and all three boarded a chartered flight to Washington. He and his wife were arrested soon after, accused of stockpiling weapons. They have been imprisoned in Caracas awaiting trial ever since. The Trump administration has threatened crippling oil sanctions on Venezuela for Maduro's decision to go forward with presidential elections last week that the US has called a "sham".

On Saturday, the president tweeted that Joshua Holt was released, and will be landing in the capital later today.

Last week, Holt posted video to Facebook in which he said he feared for his life in jail in Caracas and said: "I've been begging my government for two years". She worked feverishly to bring attention to her son's incarceration, hosting rallies, fundraisers and doing media interviews. We ask that you allow us to meet with our son and his wife before giving any interviews and statements.

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