American jailed in Venezuela for 2 years arrives in US

Clay Curtis
May 27, 2018

United States authorities had been denied access to a court hearing on Holt's case in December, with Trump labelling the U.S. citizen a "hostage" of the Venezuela administration.

The Maduro government has yet to comment on the reasons for the release.

Sen. Orrin Hatch says on Twitter that Joshua Holt has been freed.

Venezuela claimed he had weapons in his wife's family's apartment.

Senator Hatch said Holt was on his way to the United States and praised Corker's "pivotal efforts".

The announcement came as a the Venezuelan government had appeared to be doubling down on claims that Holt was a US government agent.

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Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, who is considered to have Mr. Trump's ear on Latin American issues, said the couple's "release will in no way change US policy towards the dictatorship in Venezuela".

Venezuela's communications minister, Jorge Rodriguez, said their release was a goodwill gesture that followed months of dialogue between the Maduro government and US lawmakers. Holt and his family deny the charges.

The video comes hours after Hatch announced he had secured Holt's release in a statement, calling the return of his fellow Utah native the culmination of two years of negotiations with the Venezuelan government and President Nicolas Maduro. They have been imprisoned in Caracas awaiting trial ever since.

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 USA had stopped short of publicly calling Holt a "hostage". Corker left an hour later; neither the senator nor the president made any statements.

Holt and his wife had been charged with espionage, violence and spreading activities against Venezuela's constitutional order, he said. Holt's mother, Laurie Holt, said all along that her son and his wife were wrongly accused. "We are grateful to all who participated in this miracle".

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