Holt was held for almost two years without standing trial. Very proud. And we have others coming. "He's not a spy", he's a "totally innocent man".
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 great people of Utah are Celebrating!" Holt's mother also thanked Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro for releasing her son.
Venezuela's minister of communications, Jorge Rodriguez, said Venezuelan and US diplomats had been negotiating the release for months.
At the White House, Trump told Holt he had been "incredibly courageous".
American Joshua Holt, who has been jailed in Venezuela without a trial for two years, has been released, officials said today. Sen.
As they sat side-by-side, Trump said Holt had gone through "more than most people could endure". The couple was waiting for Caleno's US visa when they were arrested at her family's apartment in a government housing complex for what the USA considered trumped-up charges of stockpiling an assault rifle and grenades.
"I'm just overwhelmed with gratitude", Holt said, thanking the president for helping him. Dick Durbin of IL had in April with Maduro to urge Holt's release.
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Venezuela - once one of Latin America's most prosperous countries - has the world's largest oil reserves but oil production has fallen sharply in recent years as corruption, disinvestment and the loss of skilled workers take their toll.
"You were a tough one, I have to tell you, that was a tough situation", the President said to Holt, adding that he is "very proud" of the administration's overall track record.
Months of secret, backchannel talks between an aide to Mr Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and close allies of Mr Maduro preceded their return. I've been begging my government for two years.
Maduro was re-elected to a six-year term in controversial elections May 20 that were boycotted by most opposition parties and rejected as illegitimate by the United States and other countries.
"While the government promises to free political prisoners from the Helicoide...it's prohibiting the delivery of food and water to the male political prisoners", Alfredo Romero, the head of the Foro Penal advocacy group said. On May 22 - two days after Maduro won reelection - Robinson and the USA deputy chief of mission, Brian Naranjo, were expelled from the country in a sharp escalation of diplomatic tensions.
Speculation swirled that the government was demanding an all-but-impossible prisoner exchange for Flores' two nephews, who in 2016 were convicted in NY of drug trafficking, after it was learned that a government-connected Venezuelan tycoon was paying Holt's legal fees as well as those of the men branded the "narco-nephews".
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said this month that a senior department official had urged Holt's release on humanitarian grounds.