A Utah man who had been jailed in Venezuela for nearly two years has returned to the United States, and said in an Oval Office meeting with President Donald Trump that he was “overwhelmed with gratitude.”
Joshua Holt arrived Saturday evening at Washington Dulles International Airport. Venezuelan officials released Holt after high-level talks between President Nicolas Maduro and US lawmakers.
Holt and his wife were jailed for nearly two years on accusations of stockpiling weapons and grenades — charges that US officials consider bogus.
The release of Holt and his wife, Thamara Caleno, and their departure for Washington came one day after Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee held a surprise meeting in Caracas with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
In the Oval Office on Saturday evening, Holt, his family, Trump, and the lawmakers who helped secure his freedom spoke about …
“Those two years, they were a very, very, very difficult two years. Not really the great vacation that I was looking for,” Holt said. “I’m just so grateful for what you guys have done, and for thinking about me and caring about me — just a normal person. So it really touches me, and thank you.
Trump commended Holt’s bravery throughout his time in jail.
“You’ve been very brave, actually. You’ve been incredibly brave,” he said. “We saw what was happening inside of that prison, so you really have been very, very brave.”
Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah thanked Trump profusely in the Oval Office for his assistance on Holt’s case, and said he supported him, CBS reports.
“I think you’re doing a terrific job,” he said. “When you look back at your tenure in your presidency, this is just one of many great things that you’re doing.”
Hatch also posted an emotional video on Twitter that showed Holt reuniting with his parents earlier that day:
— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) May 26, 2018
— overpasses4America (@o4america) May 27, 2018
“Over the last two years I’ve worked with two presidential administrations, countless diplomatic contacts, ambassadors from all over the world, a network of contacts in Venezuela, and President Maduro himself,” Hatch said in a statement. “I could not be more honored to be able to reunite Josh with his sweet, long-suffering family in Riverton.”
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
May 27th, 2018