Trump announces release of United States citizen jailed in Venezuela

American Citizen Held in Venezuela Released, Trump Announces

American 'hostage' Josh Holt has been released from Venezuela, Trump says

Holt, 24, is a USA citizen and was arrested by Venezuelan intelligence services on June 30, 2016, along with his wife, Tamara Belen Caleno.

An American who was held in a Venezuelan prison for almost two years on weapons charges made it back to the U.S. Saturday evening where he was greeted by his family and President Trump.

The White House is thanking the government of Venezuela for releasing an American held in jail for two years but adding that USA policy toward the Maduro regime isn't changing.

A White House official says Joshua Holt arrived Saturday evening at Washington Dulles International Airport.

Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News will continue to update this story as more updates are released.

Maduro shook hands with Corker in images broadcast on state TV from the presidential palace, which said the two were "strengthening global relationships", without offering more details. They had planned to move to the US with Candelo's two young daughters, and were waiting for approval for her USA visa.

"I am pleased to join Senator Hatch and President Trump in announcing the release of Josh and Thamy Holt", Corker said in a statement. US President Donald Trump made the announcement on Twitter, one day after US Senator Bob Corker met with Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, the head of the country's Socialist Party.

Holt's release came as Maduro appears to be on a public relations offensive following the widely condemned elections last week, seeking to make gestures toward his worldwide and domestic critics.

President Trump said Saturday morning that he looked forward to welcoming Holt to the White House that evening.

"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.

The senators joined Holt, his wife, parents, the freed couple's daughter Marian, and other USA officials in the White House for a meeting with President Donald Trump.

Instead, the couple was arrested on June 30 at her family's apartment in a government housing complex on the outskirts of Caracas.

Holt told Trump: "I'm just overwhelmed with gratitude", adding his imprisonment on weapons charges had been very hard and "not really the great vacation I was looking for".

"We're praying that this type of gesture... will allow us to strengthen what we've always sought: dialogue, harmony, respect for our independence and respect for our sovereignty", he said.

While neither side has released an official statement, reports said the visit was an attempt by Corker to negotiate for the release of Joshua Holt.

He was arrested shortly after arriving in Venezuela almost two years ago. They were imprisoned in Caracas awaiting trial ever since. She worked feverishly to bring attention to her son's incarceration, hosting rallies, fundraisers and doing media interviews. He had lost a considerable amount of weight and was suffering from kidney stones and painful tooth decay, they said.

Latest News