Friday, 22 June, 2018

Utah Man Jailed In Venezuela For Two Years Set To Return Home

American Citizen Held in Venezuela Released, Trump Announces American 'hostage' Josh Holt has been released from Venezuela, Trump says
Charlie Simmons | 29 May, 2018, 15:25

In this photo released by the Miraflores Presidential Press Office, Venezuela'.

Trump said Holt was inside the Helicoide prison during a rebellion against guards last week. It said, "The Maduro regime must call free, fair, and transparent elections, consistent with its constitution".

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement Saturday, "U.S. policy toward Venezuela remains unchanged".

Vice President Mike Pence tweeted just as Holt's plane landed that he was "very glad that Josh Holt is now back home with his family - where he has always belonged" but added sanctions against the country wound "continue until democracy returns to Venezuela".

Holt and his wife, Thamara Caleno, arrived Saturday evening at Washington Dulles International Airport for a tearful reunion with his parents, Laurie and Jason Holt.

"I'm just overwhelmed with gratitude", Holt said in the meeting with Trump. "That was a tough situation", Trump said.

"Those two years, they were a very, very, very hard two years". Holt and Candelo were hauled off to jail.

Hatch said in a statement that Corker had been "pivotal" in the effort to secure Holt's release, although the Tennessee lawmaker downplayed his role as "small".

The next morning, they were told to pack their things and prepare to go. Holt was held for almost two years without standing trial. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, led to a surprise breakthrough.

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A source familiar with the issue, who asked to remain anonymous, told Reuters there was no quid pro quo or agreement to ease US sanctions tied to Holt's release, and that Trump was not involved in the final negotiations. Hatch issued a statement on Twitter saying Holt's release followed two years of lobbying and that Holt's wife Thamy would be accompanying him home.

Holt's release comes a day after Sen.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, left, shakes hands with Republican Senator Bob Corker during a meeting at the Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday May 25, 2018. And once they were in there, his family claims that they planted an AK-47 and a grenade in some of Holt's luggage because they were getting ready to come back to the USA and use those weapons as an excuse to detain both of them.

USA officials all along considered the charged bogus. "Josh had posted videos and pled for help so Senator Hatch made one final plea directly to President Maduro that set wheels in motion", Whitlock wrote in an email to Reuters.

"I cleaned out Home Depot", she said. On one gold couch in the Oval Office sat Holt's family, and on the other couch sat Sen. Joshua Holt was wearing a bright orange backpack and was surrounded by supporters.

After months of negotiations between the USA and Venezuelan governments, the Holts were suddenly freed on Saturday.

Shortly after McCarry's visit, Lacava traveled to Washington in March to speak with several lawmakers including Hatch, Corker, Sen. Corker negotiated the release with Maduro. They were imprisoned in Caracas awaiting trial ever since.

Holt was arrested on weapons charged during a trip to Venezuela to marry a woman he'd met on a website to practice Spanish. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., according to several senior USA officials. They called the release of their son and his wife a "miracle". He was arrested on weapons charges and accused of being a spy.

The White House learned from Corker on Friday of Holt's impending release, according to a USA official who has closely followed Holt's plight and spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the private talks.

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