Utah Man Released From Venezuela Prison: President Trump

Frederick Owens
May 27, 2018

A former missionary from Utah who spent two years in a Venezuelan prison in what human rights lawyers called a trumped up case is to be released later Saturday by President Nicolás Maduro's authoritarian government, US officials said in morning announcements.

"I could not be more honored to be able to reunite Josh with his sweet, long-suffering family in Riverton", Mr. Hatch said in the statement.

In this image provided by the Holt family, Joshua Holt, his wife Thamara and her daughter board a plane at the airport in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, May 26, 2018. Hatch posted a statement saying the release was the culmination of two years of hard work.

HuffPost contributed additional information to this report. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and close allies of Maduro.

"Very glad that Josh Holt is now back home with his family - where he has always belonged", U.S. Vice President Mike Pence wrote on Twitter.

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Holt's family says "we are grateful to all who participated in this miracle". Last week, Diosdado Cabello, one of Venezuela's most powerful politicians, called him the "Latin American head" of the Central Intelligence Agency and a "mercenary".

Holt was married to a Venezuelan woman who also was arrested when she came to visit him in prison. Hatch and Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, also lobbied on behalf of Holt and decried his poor treatment in prison.

On May 17, Holt issued a plea on Facebook, asking the U.S. government to help him return home.

The Maduro government has not commented on the reasons for the release.

In televised comments earlier this month, the No. 2 official in Venezuela's ruling Socialist Party, Diosdado Cabello, described Holt as "the head of US espionage in Latin America" and said that he would remain behind bars. Corker left an hour later; neither the senator nor the president made any statements.

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