Published: Thu, May 31, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

White House says Venezuela policy not changing

White House says Venezuela policy not changing

The White House is thanking the government of Venezuela for releasing an American held in jail for two years but adding that US policy toward the Maduro regime isn't changing.

The Utah senator added: "I could not be more honored to be able to reunite Josh with his sweet, long-suffering family in Riverton".

Holt's parents thanked President Trump and all of 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.

The video, posted on the Twitter account for Hatch's office, depicts Holt and his wife, Thamy, reuniting with family in the senator's Washington, D.C., office, with the caption "Reunited". Earlier this month, Holt posted a video from his jail on Facebook, pleading for help, writing, "I've been begging my government for two years".

"I can't deceive anybody, they are going to create grave difficulties, painful difficulties", he said. When the once-unimaginable voyage resumed Holt had a big smile on his face, Corker told Trump in an Oval Office meeting Saturday night surrounded by the Utah man and his family.

"They were a very, very hard two years", he continued.

Holt, who had changed from his blue jeans into a navy blue suit and tie for the White House visit, looked calm and at ease sitting next to Trump.

His family says Holt was framed on the weapons charges and the United States accused Caracas of using him as a bargaining chip in sanctions talks.

"In the end, Corker was the closer", the official said. "The great people of Utah will be very happy!"

Trump, in a tweet, described Holt as a "hostage".

Alberto makes landfall while local forecast becomes hotter/drier
Tennant did not directly blame the up to 2 inches of rain that fell Monday from the fringes of Alberto for the deaths. It was expected to reach land Monday afternoon or evening as it headed north at about 8 miles per hour (13 kph).

Holt's wife, Thamara Caleno, exchanged text messages with The Associated Press as she and Holt were traveling.

Joshua Holt, who traveled to Venezuela from Utah in 2016 to marry a Spanish-speaking Mormon woman but soon found himself jailed and later branded the CIA's top spy in Latin America, has been set free by the anti-American Maduro government. Yet Holt's release had seemed unlikely even a week ago. He was arrested on weapons charges and accused of being a spy.

"We're grateful to all who participated in this miracle", Holt's family said in a statement.

Venezuela's Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said their release was a goodwill gesture that followed months of dialogue between the Maduro Government and United States politicians.

The White House action would complicate Venezuela's efforts to sell off financial IOUs known as "accounts receivable".

Trump said Holt was among those inside the Helicoide prison during a rebellion against guards last week.

Maduro was re-elected to a six-year term last week, but the USA joins other countries in rejecting the outcome, widely seen as a result of vote-rigging.

On May 17, Holt issued a plea on Facebook, asking the U.S. government to help him return home. Hours earlier Maduro expelled the top American diplomat over the refusal of the recognize his re-election.

At the time of the riot, his mother said she and her husband were anxious that their son might not make it out of Venezuela alive.

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