Trump welcomes freed Venezuelan prisoner to White House

29 May, 2018, 15:27 | Author: Mable Gonzales
  • American Citizen Held in Venezuela Released, Trump Announces

A Utah man freed this weekend after being held in a Venezuelan jail for almost two years is scheduled to return to Salt Lake City on Monday night after getting medical care and visiting President Donald Trump in Washington.

On Saturday, Trump announced that Holt had been released from prison in Venezuela.

"I'm just overwhelmed with gratitude", said an emotional Mr Holt, sitting next to Mr Trump in the Oval Office.

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 USA would somehow fall apart. "Not really the great vacation that I was looking for ..." "I'm just so grateful for what you guys have done and for thinking about me and caring about me, just a normal person, so it really touches me and thank you".

Also at the homecoming were Mr. Holt's parents and the three Republican senators who helped secretly negotiate his release, Sens.

"We want everybody aware", said Linda Rogers, a friend of the Holt family. "Most people don't know that".

When he departed the Caracas airport earlier in the day, Mr Holt said the ordeal had left him "exhausted".

Josh Holt and his Venezuelan wife were locked in a Caracas jail alongside some of the country's most-hardened criminals - and President Nicolas Maduro's top opponents - for what the USA government argued were bogus charges of stockpiling weapons.

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.

Holt's release comes as Maduro moves to ease tensions that have spiked since the May 20 elections, which were boycotted by most opposition parties and denounced as illegitimate by the US, EU, Canada and at least a dozen Latin American countries.

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

The US contended Mr Holt was held on trumped-up charges. "We are on our way home", Corker tweeted.

"We're praying that this type of gesture ... will allow us to strengthen what we've always sought: dialogue, harmony, respect for our independence and respect for our sovereignty", he said.

The man Josh Holt, was a Mormon missionary who flew to Venezuela to marry a woman he met online. Police arrested the couple after finding an assault rifle and grenades during a raid on a housing complex where the couple lived.

A lot of people told me that Holt was being held by the Venezuelan government for so long because they were kind of trying to justify this overall view that they have that the US government is trying to overthrow the Maduro government. Holt was held in a notorious Caracas prison, and was expected to go on trial in the coming months.

"As part of. the peace and reconciliation being presented by President Maduro, he ordered the liberation of the American Joshua Holt and his wife", Rodriguez said at a Saturday news conference at the presidential palace. After Nicolas Maduro was re-elected president earlier this week, the Trump administration imposed new sanctions.

Corker on Friday met personally with President Nicola Maduro.

Holt's mother Laurie did not immediately respond to a request for comment. She said her son has suffered numerous health problems in jail, including kidney stones and respiratory problems.

The release happened even with U.S. -Venezuela relations at a low ebb. Senior US administration officials said the instruments had been used to garner much-needed revenue for the cash-starved regime. Reporter John Otis, who covers Venezuela for NPR, joins us now.



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