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Trump Secures Utah Missionary's Release Who Has Tearful Reunion With Parents

29 May, 2018, 08:01 | Author: Lucille Rivera
  • Kim Raff  AP

The US contended Mr Holt was held on trumped-up charges.

"After their honeymoon past year, the couple settled into Candelo's apartment in a housing project on the outskirts of Caracas. Holt and Candelo were hauled off to jail". The US government had feared for the life of the 26-year-old Mormon missionary and his wife, who were both in the custody of SEBIN, the Venezuelan intelligence agency, in Caracas.

His release came after Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, led to a surprise breakthrough.

Joshua Holt, an American who was jailed in Venezuela, has been released and is returning home, according to President Trump and Sen.

The hostage "should be landing in [Washington, D.C.] this evening and be in the White House, with his family, at about 7:00 P.M.", the president tweeted at 9:22 a.m. Speaking to the President on Saturday night, Holt told a group of politicians and family inside the Oval Office it had been a "very very hard two years", and 'not really the great vacation I was looking for'.

President Donald Trump found out Friday that Holt would be released, said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.

Mr. Holt said that he was "overwhelmed with gratitude".

"You were a tough one!"

Kim Raff  APFriends and family react as Josh Holt and his family arrive in Salt Lake City
Kim Raff APFriends and family react as Josh Holt and his family arrive in Salt Lake City

In televised comments as recently as the beginning of the month, the No. 2 official in Venezuela's ruling Socialist Party, Diosdado Cabello, described Holt as "the head of USA espionage in Latin America", and said that he would remain behind bars.

The release of Joshua Holt does not change United States policy, and will continue to use all available tools and options to pressure the Maduro regime to abide by democratic norms, and will continue to build a broad worldwide coalition of like-minded partners who want to see the return of democracy to the people of Venezuela.

"They came back from a very tough ordeal in a Venezuelan prison nearly two years, Josh, and, you know, wonderful that you were able to take it", Trump said. "They say they're doing things, but I'm still here", Holt said on May 16 in a clandestine video posted to Facebook, one of several pleas to the USA government to free him, The Washington Post reported.

"I just want to live happy with my wife and children".

"I can imagine that Josh would feel somewhat alone and he had been forgotten".

"People are trying to break in my room and kill me", Holt posted on Facebook at the time. After the flight landed, Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, who said earlier in the day that his office helped secure Holt's release, posted a video to Twitter showing Holt reuniting with his family. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., according to several senior US officials. "Sanctions continue until democracy returns to Venezuela", Pence said in a tweet. "In most cases, they're Americans, but we can try and help other countries, too, where there's injustice", the President said.

"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.

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