The United States welcomes the long over-due release of Joshua Holt and his wife, Thamara, who were unjustly imprisoned in Venezuela. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thanked U.S. Senator Bob Corker, Senator Orrin Hatch, Senator Mike Lee, Representative Mia Love, and other members of Congress and staff who worked on behalf of the Holt family over the past two years and helped to make their return to the United States a reality.
The Holts’ ordeal began in June 2016 when Joshua had traveled to Venezuela to marry Thamara Caleno, whom he had met on an online dating site. About three weeks later, Venezuelan police arrested Mr. Holt for allegedly conspiring against the government of President Nicolas Maduro. Police claimed they had uncovered a cache of assault rifles and other weapons among Mr. Holt’s possessions. Mrs. Holt was also jailed for being an alleged accomplice. Both Holts denied all the charges.
Despite repeated efforts by U.S. government officials, the Venezuelan authorities refused to free the Holts until May 26, when Senator Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, met with President Maduro in Caracas and secured their release.
“U.S. policy toward Venezuela remains unchanged,” declared Secretary Pompeo.“The United States stands steadfast in support of the Venezuelan people and their efforts to return to democracy.”
The safety and welfare of U.S. citizens overseas is among the Department of State’s highest priorities, said Secretary Pompeo. “On behalf of the State Department and the entire United States government, we wish Joshua Holt and his family the best after this difficult period.”