Joshua Holt (pictured – Facebook: Justice for Josh group) , an American who was jailed in Venezuela in 2016 along with his wife, returned home on Sunday to a hero’s welcome after his release.
Hours later, the 26-year-old Mormon missionary from Utah, his parents Laurie and Jason Holt, Venezuelan wife Thamy (Thamara Caleno) and child were with President Donald Trump at the White House.
Trump hailed Holt for his bravery while facing a tough situation in an anti-American country ruled by President Nicolas Maduro.
Holt had gone to Venezuela in 2016 to marry Thamy but he was jailed and branded CIA’s top spy in Latin America. The couple was jailed for two years on charges of concealing weapons.
Holt told Trump he is grateful to all who helped in securing his release.
Vice President Mike Pence said sanctions against Venezuela would continue until democracy is restored in Venezuela.
Pence’s remarks came after Venezuela’s Communications Minister Jorge Rodrigues said Maduro’s gestures like the release of Holt should prompt the US to hold talks with Venezuela.
In a recent Facebook post, Holt sought immediate US intervention adding that the authorities in Caracas wanted to kill him and his wife.
The release of the Holts came a day after US Senator Bob Corker, Republican from Tennessee, held talks with Maduro.
The couple were to face trial in a Caracas court this month.
Laurie Holt, who had organised rallies and press conferences to draw attention of the US authorities to the plight of her jailed son, thanked Maduro for releasing him.