Written by: Jack Bibiano – Follow me on Twitter: @LibertyDragon1 – Add me on Facebook: Juan Bibiano
This Saturday, Joshua Holt was returned to the United States after being released from a prison in Venezuela known for holding political opposition. Venezuela has been in a state of turmoil with riots ongoing since 2014. President Maduro attributed these riots and protests partly to the United States. The Venezuelan government has been accused of many politically-motivated arrests; many of the opposition leaders have been detained after publicly stating their innocence to the crimes of which they were committed.
Holt made the trip from his native Utah to Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, to wed Thamara Caleno who he had corresponded with online. He had hoped to vacation with his new wife and her two daughters in Caracas, but was arrested with his wife on June 30, 2014. According to CBS, he was, “accused of stockpiling an assault rifle and grenades” and the case may have been connected to those of other supposed U.S. attempts to overthrow Maduro. They had even gone so far as to call Holt a CIA spy. In the near two years Holt and his wife had been jailed, they never received a trial.
He released a short video from prison and posted it to Facebook on May 16 saying, “I’m calling on the people of America. I need your help to get me out of this place”. According to his video, opposition forces were attempting to take over the prison and wanted to kill him.
Utah Representative, Mia Love, had been corresponding with Holt’s family and released this statement shortly after seeing the video:
Arrangements were eventually made for the release of Joshua Holt and his wife. The United States released a statement saying that the policy towards Venezuela would not be changed to reassure Maduro that this release would not be followed by any further action. Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee met with Maduro, shortly after, Holt and his wife were released. Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah commended President Trump saying to him, “I think you’re doing a terrific job and this shows why we support you. When you look back over your tenure in the presidency, this is just one of the many great things you’re doing, and to know that we can rely on you and count on you… these are all very important things”.
Trump also mentioned Andrew Brunsen, an American pastor being held prisoner in Turkey since 2016. Trump stated that they’ve been working on his release and hinted that there will be more to come. Joshua Holt is just one of the 17 American prisoners that have been released under the Trump Administration. Holt stated he was “overwhelmed with gratitude” and his family was elated at his return. This seems to mark another triumph despite the negative coverage on the President. Let us all hope many more American citizens are freed in the coming years. As Senator hatch stated, it is nice to know we can rely on Trump.