Utah Man Released From Venezuela Prison: President Trump

Joshua Holt and Thamara Candelo on their wedding day. Thamara's daughter Nathalia 7 is in the foreground

Joshua Holt, a USA citizen and Mormon missionary, is pictured in this still image taken from a selfie video which he posted on Facebook during a riot at the Helicoide detention center in Caracas, Venezuela, obtained by Reuters May 16, 2018. It followed by a day a meeting in Caracas between Maduro and U.S. Senator Bob Corker, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

President Donald Trump said Holt and his family were expected at the White House on Saturday evening.

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

"They were a very, very, very hard two years", he said. Not really the great vacation that I was looking for...

"I just want to live happy with my wife and children".

The freeing of the Mormon missionary from Utah came despite deepening U.S.

"You were a tough one", Trump told Holt.

When he departed the Caracas airport earlier, Holt told The Associated Press that the ordeal had left him "exhausted".

Surrounded by his family on one couch, and the lawmakers who had long sought his release on another, Holt was welcomed home in remarks to reporters in the Oval Office at the White House Sunday evening.

It's not clear if Holt's release portends a thawing of relations between the two normally hostile governments.

"You understood that beautifully", Trump said to Holt's Venezuelan daughter.

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Earlier, NSC officials told CNN's Boris Sanchez that the United States "offered nothing" to Venezuelan leadership in exchange for the release of Holt.

Mr Holt and his wife were reunited at the Caracas airport with her daughter from a previous relationship, and all three boarded a chartered flight to Washington. Bob Corker of Tennessee as they flew back to the USA on Saturday afternoon.

Hatch says Holt's wife had also been released.

"This type of gesture. allows us to consolidate what has always been our standpoint: dialogue, agreement, respect for our independence, respect for our sovereignty", Rodriguez said.

The 26-year-old traveled to the country to marry a Venezuelan woman he met online and to secure U.S. visas for her and her two daughters.

The Holts were arrested by Venezuelan authorities in 2016 for supposedly keeping weapons in her home, a claim that Josh Holt has denied.

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. Their trial was set to begin this month after repeated delays that led the Trump administration to question the motives for his detention. Holt is a native of Utah.

The videos have since been deleted.

On Friday, human rights monitors reported the release of 20 activists who had been jailed in the western state of Zulia for protesting against the government.

Venezuelan state television showed Corker and Maduro shaking hands Friday, before holding a closed door meeting at the presidential palace.

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