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Josh Holt: President Trump welcomes Americans back to the US in Venezuela



"They've been through a lot more than most people could stand," said the President to Holt as the two sat side by side in the Oval Office.

"I'm just overwhelmed with gratitude for you, for everything you've done," Holt said, adding that it was a "very, very difficult two years".

Holt, a native of Utah, came to the White House shortly after his return from Venezuela with his wife Thamy. After the flight landed, Senator Orrin Hatch from Utah, who earlier said that his office secured Holts release, wrote a video on Twitter in which Holt met with his family.

The president announced Saturday morning that Holt had been released from Venezuela jail and was due to land in DC that evening. The US "offered nothing" to the Venezuelan leadership in exchange for the release of Holt, two White House National Security Council officials told CNN.

Holt traveled to Venezuela in June 201

6 to marry Venezuelan Thamara Caleño, news reports said. He was arrested shortly afterwards and accused by the Venezuelan government of storing weapons and destabilizing the government, according to the Washington Post. Holt was detained for almost two years without trial.

Holt and his wife were released overnight and released to the US Embassy in Caracas, according to Foro Penal, a human rights organization of lawyers and other political prisoners in Venezuela. The pair was accompanied by Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee when they flew back to the United States on Saturday afternoon.

The US "offered nothing" to the Venezuelan leadership in exchange for the release of Holt, two representatives of the National Security Council of the White House said CNN.

Holt traveled to Venezuela in June 2016 to marry Venezuelan Thamara Caleño, news reports said. He was arrested shortly afterwards and accused by the Venezuelan government of storing weapons and destabilizing the government, according to the Washington Post. Holt was detained for almost two years without trial.

Holt and his wife were released overnight and released to the US Embassy in Caracas, according to Foro Penal, a human rights organization of lawyers and other political prisoners in Venezuela. The couple, who joined Senator Bob Corker from Tennessee, flew back to the US on Saturday afternoon.

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

"Over the last two years, I've worked with two presidential administrations, countless diplomatic contacts, world ambassadors, a network of contacts in Venezuela and President Maduro himself, and I could no longer be honored to reunite Josh his sweet, long-awaited family in Riverton, "Hatch said in a statement on Saturday.

"I would like to thank Bob Corcker, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, for his key efforts and those of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for their assistance in this effort, and I would like to thank Caleb McCarry in particular. its expertise and efforts Venezuela on my behalf has been instrumental in getting Josh home, "he said, referring to a Corker employee.

"I am pleased to be accompanying Senator Hatch and President Trump in announcing the release of Josh and Thamy Holt," Corker said in a statement. "Senator Hatch worked tirelessly for the Holt family, and I was honored to play a small role in bringing Josh and his wife home to the United States, as well as Secretary (of State Mike) Pompeo and his team Thank the State Department for everything they've done. "

Other members of Congress expressed their happiness over Holt's release. Love tweeted: "After almost 2 years, Josh Holt finally comes home! Thanks to @realdonaldtrump and others with whom I had the pleasure of securing Josh's freedom. #justiceforjosh #utpol."

Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, praised Hatch for "working tirelessly to bring this innocent young man and his bride home."

"Josh & Thamy Holt had nothing to do with domestic politics in #Venezuela," Rubio tweeted.

Holt's release follows more than a week after posting videos on Facebook during a prison uprising and asking for help from Americans and the US government. In a video, he said, "I've been begging my government for two years, they say they're doing things, but I'm still here."

CNNs Boris Sanchez and Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.


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