Saturday, 18 August, 2018

Trump says detained American released in Venezuela

Joshua Holt and Thamara Candelo on their wedding day. Thamara's daughter Nathalia 7 is in the foreground Joshua Holt and Thamara Candelo on their wedding day. Thamara's daughter Nathalia 7 is in the foreground
Steven Clarke | 27 May, 2018, 03:30

The newlyweds were awaiting visas when Venezuelan police raided their apartment and arrested them on charges of terrorism, espionage and illegal possession of weapons.

The United States accuses Maduro's government of stifling democracy, repressing the opposition and massive corruption.

Joshua Holt, 26, from Utah has been held in a Venezuelan prison on allegations of spying for the US, according to reports.

In a statement, Holt's relatives had earlier given thanks "to all who participated in this miracle".

Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, who is considered to have Mr. Trump's ear on Latin American issues, said the couple's "release will in no way change USA policy towards the dictatorship in Venezuela".

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Senator Hatch said Holt was on his way to the United States and praised Corker's "pivotal efforts". Authorities arrested him on June 30, 2016 and accused him of using his wife's apartment in Caracas to stockpile weapons and suggesting his case was linked to other unspecified US attempts to undermine President Maduro's rule amid deep economic and political turbulence.

Joshua Holt, an American political prisoner in Venezuela and a former Mormon missionary from Utah, posted a video on Facebook on May 17, 2018, saying he feared for his life. Maduro went forward with a presidential election last week that the US has called a "sham".

Video shared by Senator Orrin Hatch shows Holt and his wife reuniting with their family after their airplane landed in Washington D.C. Holt and his family deny the charges.

Holt and his wife had been charged with espionage, violence and spreading activities against Venezuela's constitutional order, he said.

Laurie Holt said her son has suffered numerous health problems in jail, including kidney stones and respiratory problems. We ask that you allow us to meet with our son and his wife before giving any interviews and statements.

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