Detained American Released In Venezuela

Detained American Released In Venezuela

Holt and his wife were jailed for almost two years on weapons charges that USA officials consider bogus.

Venezuela released American Joshua Holt and his wife Saturday after almost two years in jail, in what its leftist government said was a gesture aimed at fostering dialogue with Washington to avert U.S. "aggressions".

Trump shook hands with Corker's staffer, who played an instrumental role in setting up communications for Holt's release. In retaliation, he was branded the CIA's spy boss in Latin America by the head of the ruling socialist party. On May 22 - two days after Maduro won reelection - Robinson and the USA deputy chief of mission, Brian Naranjo, were expelled from the country in a sharp escalation of diplomatic tensions.

But the arrival in Caracas on Friday of Sen.

"I'm just overwhelmed with gratitude for you guys for everything that you've done", Holt said, adding that it had been a "very, very hard two years".

Holt had traveled to Venezuela in June 2016 to marry Thamara Caleño, whom he met on an online Mormon dating site. He was arrested on suspicion of weapons charges.

The release came two weeks after North Korea released three American hostages ahead of a planned summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un - a meeting Trump canceled but has since said could be rejuvenated. Mike Lee, R-Utah, in a row.

"They are now flying toward the United States", he said.

Shortly after McCarry's visit, Lacava traveled to Washington in March to speak with several lawmakers including Hatch, Corker, Sen.

In particular, Maduro is likely hoping that the USA will stop stripping visas and freezing the assets of current and former Venezuelan officials - actions that are eroding Maduro's internal support network. All the officials agreed to discuss details of the negotiations only on condition of anonymity. "Sanctions continue until democracy returns to Venezuela".

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The White House is also calling on Venezuela to release all political prisoners and accept worldwide humanitarian aid for its dying citizens.

When The Associated Press reported on the politically fraught backchannel in March, few imagined it would succeed.

Venezuelan authorities arrested Holt in June 2016 while he was in Venezuela for his wedding, and he was held without trial at the headquarters of intelligence agency Sebin, a Caracas complex known as the Helicoide. The Trump administration has threatened crippling oil sanctions on Venezuela for Maduro's decision to go forward with presidential elections last week that the USA has called a "sham".

An official with the National Security Council stressed that nothing had been offered to secure Holt's release.

President Trump posted a video on Twitter after meeting with Holt and his wife.

The U.S. government at first avoided ratcheting up public pressure on Venezuela amid already strained relations between the two countries, but eventually raised Holt's case to the highest levels of the Venezuela government.

"You've gone through a lot, more than most people could endure", the President said to Holt as the two were seated side-by-side in the Oval Office late Saturday night.

On Friday, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Committee, Sen. "They say they're doing things, but I'm still here". Venezuela contended Holt was a spy involved in trying to destabilize the country. "And so know that we are engaged", Pompeo told lawmakers at the hearing. Bob Corker of Tennessee, were on a flight back to the USA on Saturday afternoon. He walked by the camera shouting "Dracula on the attack!" and flashing a "V for Victory" sign.

His wife also was jailed on allegations of being Holt's accomplice.

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