Utah Missionary Set to Be Freed from Venezuela Detention

Clay Curtis
May 27, 2018

"I'm pleased to announce that after two years of hard work, ew've secured the release of Josh and Thamy Holt, who are now on their way home to the United States from Venezuela".

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

Holt, now 26, set out for the South American country in June 2016 to marry a woman he met online while he was looking for Spanish-speaking Mormons who could help him improve his Spanish.

Just this past week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that he anxious that President Nicolas Maduro expelling the top USA diplomat in the country would hinder efforts to free Holt. He had planned to spend several months in Caracas that summer with his new wife and her two daughters, to secure their visas so they could move with him to the U.S.

Mr. Holt's release looked unlikely a week ago, when he appeared in a clandestinely shot video railing against the Maduro government and saying his life was threatened in a prison riot. In one video he said, "I've been begging my government for two years".

A Riverton man who has been imprisoned in Venezuela for the past two years has been released, Sen. The couple were scheduled to head to the airport in Caracas around midday Saturday, a Foro Penal spokesman told CNN.

Hatch has been a devout supporter of Trump since he came into office
Hatch has been a devout supporter of Trump since he came into office

The Maduro government has not commented on the reasons for the release.

President Trump on Saturday morning tweeted that Venezuela is releasing an American hostage. "The great people of Utah are Celebrating!" The details were still being worked out, the official said.

"We are grateful to all who participated in this miracle", Joshua Holt's family said in a statement.

Hatch says Holt's wife had also been released.

They were being accompanied by U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, who met on Friday with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Corker's office said. "I want to particularly thank Caleb McCarry, whose expertise and effort in Venezuela on my behalf has been instrumental in bringing Josh home", he said, referring to an aide of Corker's.

On May 17, Holt issued a plea on Facebook, asking the USA government to help him return home.

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