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It's a 'Miracle': Utah Man Jailed in Venezuela Goes Free

Joshua Holt was arrested nearly 2 years ago
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 26, 2018 10:23 AM CDT
In this July 13, 2016 file photo, Laurie Holt holds a photograph of her son Josh Holt at her home, in Riverton, Utah.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

(Newser) – A Utah man jailed in Venezuela on weapons charges nearly two years ago was released Saturday after US officials and his family pressed for his freedom from the South American country, the AP reports. "We are grateful to all who participated in this miracle," Joshua Holt's family say in a statement. President Donald Trump says Holt and his family were expected at the White House on Saturday evening. "Good news about the release of the American hostage from Venezuela. ... The great people of Utah will be very happy!" Trump says in a tweet.

The 26-year-old Holt had gone to Venezuela in June 2016 to marry a woman he met online while he was looking for Spanish-speaking Mormons to help him improve his Spanish. Holt's wife, Thamara, was also freed, says Sen. Orrin Hatch, who adds that Holt will soon be reunited with "his sweet, long-suffering family" in Riverton, Utah. Their release came after Tennessee GOP Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, met with Venezuela's president, Nicolas Maduro, on Friday, two days after the embattled socialist leader kicked out the top US diplomat in the country. Click for the whole story.

(Read more Venezuela stories.)

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