Pres. Trump Welcomes US Citizen Jailed In Venezuela To White House

Holt was held in Venezuela for two years

Holt was held in Venezuela for two years

On May 22 - two days after Maduro won reelection - Robinson and the USA deputy chief of mission, Brian Naranjo, were expelled from the country in a sharp escalation of diplomatic tensions. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "I need your help to get me out of this place", Holt said in the video.

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. The couple was waiting for Caleno's US visa when they were arrested at her family's apartment in a government housing complex for what the USA considered trumped-up charges of stockpiling an assault rifle and grenades.

Their trial was set to begin this month after repeated delays that led the Trump administration to question the motives for his detention, although until Trump's tweet Saturday, the US had stopped short of publicly calling Holt a 'hostage'. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, on Saturday.

Relationships formed in the now-defunct group were also instrumental in securing the release of another American accused of spying, documentary filmmaker Tim Tracy, who spent a month in a Venezuelan jail in 2013.

Holt and his wife had been charged with espionage, violence and spreading activities against Venezuela's constitutional order, he said.

His family denied all the charges and said that they were actually being held hostage to bargain with the United States due to its economic sanctions on Venezuela, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

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Corker on Friday met personally with President Nicola Maduro.

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.

However, after word of Lacava's visit was leaked by Sen.

Venezuelan state television showed Corker and Maduro shaking hands Friday, before holding a closed door meeting at the presidential palace.

Details of the release and White House welcome will be released later Saturday, said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Holt, who'd been held in the El Helicoide intelligence agency prison, published a Facebook video earlier this month pleading for help and claiming his life was in danger. Relations between the USA and Venezuela have been strained recently, particularly over the election which last week returned Maduro to power.

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Trump asked everyone sitting with him in the Oval Office to speak about Holt's release but was surprised - and amused - when Lee turned to Holt's daughter to address her in Spanish. The family of Joshua Holt, who was recently released from a prison in Venezuela, father Jason Ho.

While the day Josh Holt is expected to return home to this south Salt Lake County community was still a little up in the air Sunday, family, friends, neighbors and even strangers worked to ensure that whenever he does arrive, he'll be greeted with a visual reminder that he was never forgotten.

Trump said Holt had been "incredibly courageous".

"I'm overwhelmed with gratitude", Holt said.

"I am pleased to join Senator Hatch and President Trump in announcing the release of Josh and Thamy Holt", Corker said in a statement. "They want to kill me and paint the walls with my blood".

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