Venezuela ‘hostage’ flying home to meet family at White House

Venezuela ‘hostage’ flying home to meet family at White House

President Donald Trump says in a tweet that he expects to greet Holt at the White House later Saturday. The family of Joshua Holt, who was recently released from a prison in Venezuela, father Jason Ho.

Venezuela held Holt and other US citizens in the Helicoide political prison in Caracas, where inmates staged an uprising earlier this month.

Holt, from Utah, was arrested in June 2016, after travelling to Venezuela to marry Thamara Caleño, a native of the country. Venezuelan police arrested the couple on weapons charges and held them without trial. "I just want to ask and plead once again to my government, to my people, to my senators and to everyone in the USA to please not leave me alone here", he said in the clip. Josh Holt has been released from a jail in Venezuela after spending almost two years behind bars on weapons charges.

He added: "I could not be more honoured to reunite Josh with his sweet, long-suffering family in Riverton". "We have others coming", he said, singling out pastor Andrew Brunson, held by Turkey since an attempted coup in 2016. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker and Utah Senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee plus Representative Mia Love, all of whom worked toward Holt's release, were in the room.

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

"The Maduro regime must call free, fair, and transparent elections, consistent with its constitution", a statement issued by the White House said.

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Holt's release comes a day after Sen. They seem to be doing things, but I'm still here and now my life is threatened.

Trump told Holt. "But we've had 17 [prisoners] released", during the Trump administration, the president said.

Trump said Holt had been "incredibly courageous".

Hatch's office said the Utah Republican had secured Holt's release, with the help of Sen. The government accused Holt and his wife of being spies who were hoarding weapons and attempting to overthrow the government, according to the Miami Herald. USA financial sanctions have sharply contributed to the Venezuelan economy's nose dive, and fears have built that the United States - the largest cash buyer of Venezuelan oil - would impose a potentially crippling embargo. Relations between the USA and Venezuela have been strained recently, particularly over the election which last week returned Maduro to power. Bob Corker of Tennessee held a surprise meeting in Caracas with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

On Friday, human rights monitors reported the release of 20 activists who had been jailed in the western state of Zulia for protesting against the government.

The US also refuses to recognise Maduro's re-election as president in a vote last week that was largely boycotted by the opposition. On May 22 - two days after Maduro won reelection - Robinson and the US deputy chief of mission, Brian Naranjo, were expelled from the country in a sharp escalation of diplomatic tensions.

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