Josh Holt released from Venezuelan jail

The Venezuelan government on Saturday released an American, Josh Holt, who it has held since 2016 on weapons charges, U.S. President Donald Trump and Utah Sen.

Trump said Holt, 26, would be in Washington, D.C., Saturday evening at about 7 p.m. The great people of Utah will be very happy!

The diplomacy succeeded despite tense relations between the USA and Venezuela, with the Trump administration slapping increasingly severe sanctions on the socialist regime.

Holt's family said they were "grateful to all who participated in this miracle". The police said they found a hand grenade and automatic weapons at the home, but eyewitnesses to the arrest told the Miami Herald that the evidence had been planted.

The Trump administration has threatened crippling oil sanctions on Venezuela for Maduro's decision to go forward with the presidential election last week.

The Maduro government has yet to comment on the reasons for the release.

"Good news about the release of the American hostage from Venezuela", Trump tweeted later on Saturday morning.

Holt, a Mormon, was being held at a prison in Caracas known as the Helicoide where political prisoners are held by the Venezuelan intelligence service Sebin. US Rep. Mia Love, a Utah Republican, tweeted, "After almost 2 years, Josh Holt is finally coming home!"

Holt will be returning to the United States with his wife, Thamara Caleño.

The U.S. government at first avoided ratcheting up public pressure on Venezuela in light of their already strained relations, but eventually raised Holt's case with the highest levels of the Venezuelan government and decried his treatment in prison.

President Trump heralded the release in a tweet. She worked feverishly to bring attention to her son's incarceration, hosting rallies, fundraisers and doing media interviews.

While neither side has released an official statement, reports said the visit was an attempt by Corker to negotiate for the release of Joshua Holt. He was depressed and at one point lost so much weight that he dropped several pant sizes, she said. Holt and his family deny the charges.

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