In another victory, President Trump has welcomed home Mormon missionary Joshua Holt, 26, back to the United States after spending two years in a Venezuelan prison. Just last week, he posted on Facebook that his life was in jeopardy inside Helicoide prison. He begged someone to help him and Trump did.
“You were a tough one, I have to tell you,” Trump said to Holt, about the process of securing his release. He stated that there have been 17 American prisoners held outside the U.S. who have been freed by his administration. “We’re very proud of that record and we have others coming,” he said. “You’ve gone through a lot, more than most people could endure,” Trump said.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) May 27, 2018
“The people have taken the entire prison. They’re outside. They’re trying to break in. They’re saying they want to kill me, they’re saying they want me as their guarantee. I need help,” Holt said in one horrifying video. Soon afterwards, he was released.
“I’m just overwhelmed with gratitude,” Holt said, sincerely thanking the President for helping him. I’m surprised that Holt survived being in a prison in Venezuela. They tend to starve their prisoners to death because it’s too expensive to feed them. That’s if the gangs in the prison don’t get your first, not to mention being tortured to death.
Holt quipped that his trip to Venezuela was “not really the great vacation that I was looking for” and thanked his wife for helping him through the two years he spent in prison. He traveled to Venezuela in 2016 to marry his wife Thamy, who he had met online while looking for Spanish-speaking Mormons to help him learn the language. He was immediately detained by the Venezuelan government and imprisoned for two years without a trial. Holt was arrested on charges of espionage. Authorities arrested him on June 30, 2016, and accused him of stockpiling an assault rifle and grenades, suggesting his case was linked to other unspecified US attempts to undermine Maduro’s rule amid deep economic and political turbulence. His wife also was jailed on allegations of being Holt’s accomplice.
Both of Holt’s parents could not thank President Trump enough for bringing their son home. They also thanked all the members of Congress who advocated on their behalf: Senator Bob Corker R-TN and Utah members of Congress, Senator Mike Lee, Senator Orrin Hatch and Rep. Mia Love. After shaking Hatch’s hand, Holt embraced his mother, who was crying, for a full 30 seconds. Holt’s father also gave his son a grand embrace and while smiling ear to ear, cracked a joke. “We need somebody to mow the lawn,” he said. “It’s about time.”
“I don’t think that there is a person in the United States right now that doesn’t realize that you have their back,” Mia Love said to President Trump. “I so wanted to personally thank you for keeping a promise that you made to me. Every time I would go and see you, I would bring up Joshua’s name, and you would say, ‘I’m going to do everything I can.’ And obviously, I believe it. Utah wants to thank you, Mr. President, for making this happen. We wouldn’t have been able to do this without you.” To Holt, Mia Love said, “Your mom never let us forget about you, she is one of the strongest women I know.”
“Mr. President, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you. As you know, I was the one guy who really supported you 100 percent,” Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch said during a meeting at the White House with the President and freed prisoner Josh Holt. “[T]his wouldn’t have happened without you,” he continued. “We just want you to know that … And to know that we can rely on you and count on you, and talk to you, and meet with you — these are all very important things. We love you, boy, and we just want to support you every way we can.”
Corker specifically praised his Latin American policy aide, Caleb McCarry, for his efforts to secure the release. “We could actually write a book about the last 48 hours,” he said. Their release came after Tennessee GOP Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, met with Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro, two days after the embattled socialist leader kicked out the top US diplomat in the country. His release was the outcome of months of secret, back channel talks about Holt between one of the senator’s aides and close allies of the Venezuelan president.
Senator Lee welcomed Thamy to the US and spoke to her in Spanish, “Welcome to our country which is now your country.” Holt’s Venezuelan wife, Thamara, was arrested alongside him, and was also freed and brought to the US with her daughter. They had been held in a notorious Caracas prison run by the secret police that’s also home to dozens of Maduro’s top opponents who have been jailed during the past few years of political unrest in the country.
“We are all, as a group, very happy,” Trump said. While the Trump administration considers Holt’s release a gesture of goodwill on the part of the Venezuelan government led by President/Dictator Nicolas Maduro, sanctions will continue to be implemented, Vice President Mike Pence, who has been particularly critical of Maduro and his “sham” elections, tweeted.
— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) May 26, 2018
WELCOME HOME JOSH! pic.twitter.com/2X0cKE4stx
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 27, 2018
Good news about the release of the American hostage from Venezuela. Should be landing in D.C. this evening and be in the White House, with his family, at about 7:00 P.M. The great people of Utah will be very happy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2018
Very glad that Josh Holt is now back home with his family – where he has always belonged. Sanctions continue until democracy returns to Venezuela.
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) May 26, 2018
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) May 27, 2018
Senator Hatch and Elaine greeting Jason and Laurie Holt before heading to the tarmac to meet Josh and Thamy, who are returning after 2 years of captivity in Venezuela. #utpol #JoshHolt pic.twitter.com/jdKY9RqyVm
— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) May 26, 2018
— Rep. Mia Love (@RepMiaLove) May 26, 2018
SOURCES: Breitbart, The Daily Caller News Foundation, The Daily Mail, Independent Journal Review, NewsBusters, Mediaite, The Daily Caller, The Hill, Fox News, The Right Scoop, The Washington Free Beacon
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