American Held Prisoner In Venezuela Finally Reunited With His Family

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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The Trump administration has secured the release of an American who has been held prisoner in Venezuela for two years without trial.

Joshua Holt, a 26-year-old Utah native, and his Venezuelan wife Thamy returned to the U.S. Saturday evening for a tearful reunion with Holt’s mother and father. Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Republican representing Utah, tweeted a video of the touching moment. His mother held her son tight while his father joked, “Need someone to mow the lawn. It’s about time!”

At a press briefing at the White House, Holt told President Donald Trump who praised Holt for his bravery during a “tough ordeal,” that he is “overwhelmed with gratitude.”

Trump pointed out that his administration has secured the release of 17 prisoners from countries like Egypt, North Korea, and now Venezuela. The president thanked Sen. Bob Corker, Rep. Mia Love, Sen. Hatch, and Rep. Mike Lee for their role in getting Holt home. (RELATED: Trump: Pompeo Secures Release Of American Hostages In North Korea)

Holt was arrested on charges of espionage when he traveled to Venezuela in June 2016 to marry Thamy. Last week, he posted on Facebook that his life was in jeopardy inside Helicoide prison. He begged someone to help him.

President Trump announced Holt’s release Saturday morning in a very welcome tweet. (RELATED: President Trump Announces Release Of American Hostage In Venezuela)

While the Trump administration considers Holt’s release a gesture of goodwill on the part of the Venezuelan government led by President Nicolas Maduro, sanctions will continued to be implemented, Vice President Mike Pence, who has been particularly critical of Maduro and his “sham” elections, tweeted Saturday.

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Ryan Pickrell