Last week, a cell phone video of Utah resident Joshua Holt was posted to his Facebook page where he begged for help from the United States in securing his release him from a prison in the socialist country of Venezuela.
The Utah man, who was imprisoned in Venezuela for two years without a trial made an emotional plea for Americans’ help getting out of a Caracas jail, saying Wednesday in a clandestinely shot video that his life was threatened during a riot in the country’s most notorious prison.
“I’ve been begging my government for two years. They say they’re doing things but I’m still here,” said Holt.
The 26-year-old Holt traveled to Venezuela in 2016 to marry a fellow Mormon he met on the internet. Shortly afterward, the couple was arrested at her family’s apartment in a Caracas public housing project after police said they found him stockpiling an assault weapon and grenades.
His first-ever video message from jail came amid what the U.S. government described as a “riot” Wednesday by fellow inmates, including some of President Nicolas Maduro’s top opponents being held alongside the American. The disturbance, the extent of which was not immediately known, came as Venezuelans are on edge days before a presidential election that Maduro is widely expected to win despite a crushing economic crisis marked by widespread shortages and hyperinflation.
“The people have taken the entire prison. They’re trying to break in. They’re saying they want to kill me. They’re saying they want me as their guarantee,” Holt said in one of the videos, without clarifying who was allegedly trying to harm him. –Keur Utah
Earlier today, President Trump announced that “Good news” that Venezuelan hostage, Joshua Holt of Utah would be released and should be landing in D.C. around 7 p.m.
President Trump tweeted:
Good news about the release of the American hostage from Venezuela. Should be landing in D.C. this evening and be in the White House, with his family, at about 7:00 P.M. The great people of Utah will be very happy!
Twitter user “Joey M (YourVoiceAmerica) reminded America of how many hostages/prisoners have been released since President Trump took office less than 1 1/2 years ago, compared to Barack Obama who released traitor Bowe Bergdahl and 5 ISIS militants who returned to the battlefield upon their release.
So many hostages being released under Trump with no concessions. Remember when Obama traded 5 ISIS militants for Bowe Bergdahl (a traitor)?
A little later in the morning, President Trump tweeted that he was looking forward to seeing Joshua Holt this evening in the White House.
“Looking forward to seeing Joshua Holt this evening in the White House. The great people of Utah are Celebrating!”
The video of Joshua Holt appearing in the White House tonight was just released. Holt appeared to be in good spirits and was told President Trump he was “overwhelmed with gratitude.” Holt told Trump, “I’m just so grateful for what you guys have done, and for thinking about me and caring about me, just a normal person. So thank you!” President Trump responded by telling Holt he was “very, very brave. Trump continued, “You’ve been incredibly brave. We saw what was happening inside that prison.”
"You've been incredibly brave."
— Fox News (@FoxNews) May 27, 2018
President Trump just released this very touching video of Joshua Holt being “welcomed home” at the White House: