American freed from Venezuela meets with President Trump

Man returns home after years-long imprisonment in Venezuela

"Good news about the release of the American hostage from Venezuela", President Donald Trump said via Twitter. The family of Joshua Holt, who was recently released from a prison in Venezuela, father Jason Ho.

The announcement came as a the Venezuelan government had appeared to be doubling down on claims that Holt was a USA government agent.

The 26-year-old traveled to the country to marry a Venezuelan woman he met online and to secure USA visas for her and her two daughters. Holt was married to a Venezuelan woman who also was arrested when she came to visit him in prison.

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

Venezuelan officials released Holt on Saturday after high-level talks between President Nicolas Maduro and US lawmakers.

"I could not be more honored to be able to reunite Josh with his sweet, long-suffering family in Riverton", Hatch said.

"We're praying that this types of gestures by our president, Nicolas Maduro, will allow us to strengthen what we've always sought: dialogue, harmony, respect for our independence and respect for our sovereignty", he said.

Rep. Mia Love, a Republican from Holt's state of Utah, said the president told her the news directly.

Following the vote, Maduro expelled US charge d'affaires Todd Robinson and his deputy for allegedly conspiring to sabotage the vote by pressuring opposition parties to boycott the election, which had the lowest voter turnout in decades.

Joshua Holt: "I'm just overwhelmed with gratitude for you guys, for everything that you've done".

Months of secret, backchannel talks between an aide to Mr Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and close allies of Mr Maduro preceded their return.

The next morning, they were told to pack their things and prepare to go. Hatch was officially notified Friday that Holt's release was being finalized, according to an official familiar with the events, and Corker had kept in close contact with Hatch, who had spoken several times with Maduro about Holt's situation.

"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. He was arrested on weapons charges and accused of being a spy.

Maduro won a second six-year term in office May 20 in an election that the US and other countries have described as a "sham" after several rivals were prohibited from running.

The United States accuses Maduro's government of stifling democracy, repressing the opposition and massive corruption.

Last week, the United States government denounced as a "sham" Maduro's recent victory in elections, in which he secured six more years in office. On Friday, the government freed 20 political prisoners in the interior state of Zulia.

Last week, Maduro won a second term as president, despite the economic catastrophe he has presided over, in a vote that was labeled rigged by independent observers.

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