American Freed From Venezuelan Prison Meets With Trump in Oval Office
American Freed From Venezuelan Prison Meets With Trump in Oval Office
American 'hostage' Josh Holt has been released from Venezuela, Trump says
29 May, 2018, 15:23
A lot of people told me that Holt was being held by the Venezuelan government for so long because they were kind of trying to justify this overall view that they have that the USA government is trying to overthrow the Maduro government.
They were tied around trees, poles, fences and other items as a way for the community to welcome home Josh Holt, who had been held captive in a Venezuelan prison for almost two years.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said this month that a senior department official had urged Holt's release on humanitarian grounds. In retaliation, socialist party boss Diosdado Cabello, a powerful Maduro ally, said on state television that Holt was the CIA's top spy in Latin America.
The US also refuses to recognise Maduro's re-election as president in a vote last week that was largely boycotted by the opposition.
But the arrival in Caracas on Friday of Sen.
"I just want to welcome you to the Oval Office, welcome you to the White House", Trump said.
At a news conference in Caracas earlier on Saturday, Venezuelan Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said Holt and his wife were freed as part of efforts by Maduro's government to maintain "respectful diplomatic relations" with Washington.
Josh Holt traveled to Venezuela in June of 2016 to meet his sweetheart, Thamy, whom he met online.
"Very glad that Josh Holt is now back home with his family - where he has always belonged", U.S. Vice President Mike Pence wrote on Twitter.
Trump noted that 17 Americans held overseas had been freed since the start of his administration, and said the U.S.is negotiating more releases. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, Sen.
A Utah man who had been jailed in Venezuela for almost two years has returned to the United States.
McCarry secretly traveled to Venezuela in February to discuss Holt's imprisonment with Maduro and first lady Cilia Flores. "We are grateful to all who participated in this miracle", Joshua Holt's family said in a statement. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Sen. USA officials say the charges were trumped up. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the private conversation.
However, after word of Lacava's visit was leaked by Sen. Obviously, Maduro did not need Senator Corker then.
A White House spokesperson thanked the Maduro "regime" for releasing the "unjustly detained" Holt from detention, but said U.S. foreign policy towards the country would not change. Maduro went forward with a presidential elections last week that the USA has called a "sham".
After shaking Hatch's hand, Holt embraced his mother, who was crying, for a full 30 seconds.
Despite the expulsion of the American diplomats, the Venezuelan government has been seeking ways to avoid the threat of harsh US oil sanctions that could further cripple the country's ailing economy. "Sanctions continue until democracy returns to Venezuela".
Mr Trump praised Mr Holt's bravery and thanked politicians who lobbied for his release, as well as Mr Holt's parents.
Months of secret, backchannel talks between an aide to Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and close allies of Maduro preceded their return. "We're doing all the right things. We're in the midst of some very big negotiations to get others out". John, tell us what happened yesterday.
The government of Cuba was also helpful in pressuring Maduro as well as former Spanish President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, one official said. Corker started talks with Venezuela's government earlier this year at Hatch's request, he said. She says that a fellow inmate at their Caracas jail relayed information Friday night that prison officials were discussing their release.
Josh Holt and his Venezuelan wife, Thamy, landed at Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C. There the couple and their daughter reunited with his family in a tearful meeting at the airport.
There was one last-minute scare. "It really touches me", he said, his voice breaking.
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