Joshua Holt, American jailed in Venezuela, has been released, says Sen. Hatch

President Nicolas Maduro greets United States Senator Bob Corker

President Nicolas Maduro greets United States Senator Bob Corker

Joshua Holt, a Utah native held in Venezuelan jail for almost two years, returned to USA soil on Saturday, and was welcomed by President Trump.

(Alex Brandon | AP Photo) The family of Joshua Holt, who was recently released from a prison in Venezuela, father Jason Holt, left; daughter, Marian Leal; mother, Laurie Holt, and his wife, Thamara Holt, right, sit on a couch in the Oval Office of the White House during a news conference on Saturday, May 26, 2018, in Washington.

The Venezuelan government said Holt and his wife were freed in a goodwill gesture to the US, a measure that surprised some knowing the combative history between the two nations.

HuffPost contributed additional information to this report. Speaking to the President on Saturday night, Holt told a group of politicians and family inside the Oval Office it had been a "very very hard two years", and 'not really the great vacation I was looking for'. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., traveled to Caracas on Friday and was shown on state television shaking hands with the president.

The Holts were reunited with their family in a room at Dulles International Airport at about 7:10 p.m., according to Hatch's office, which posted a video of the gathering on Twitter. A short time later, he and his wife were arrested and accused of illegal possession of weapons.

"You were a tough one, I have to tell you", Trump said to Holt, about the process of securing his release.

In a later tweet, Trump said, "Looking forward to seeing Joshua Holt this evening in the White House".

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

Alfredo Romero, a lawyer who defends some of the opposition activists who were held alongside Holt, said that Maduro may be looking to win over some political sectors in the U.S.to temper Trump's hardline approach toward Venezuela. Very proud. And we have others coming.

Matt Whitlock, a spokesman for Senator Orrin Hatch, said the Utah Republican called Maduro last week after hearing of riots by inmates at the intelligence agency headquarters where Holt was held. USA officials say the charges against Holt were politically motivated.

Holt said he was overwhelmed with gratitude for the support he received from the United States government while behind bars.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, while welcoming Holt's release, stressed that "U.S. policy toward Venezuela remains unchanged".

"You've been very fearless, actually, you've been incredibly courageous", Trump said.

A Utah man has been freed from Venezuelan prison where he was held on charges of stock-piling weapons.

Their trial was set to begin this month after repeated delays that led the Trump administration to question the motives for his detention, although until Trump's tweet Saturday, the USA had stopped short of publicly calling Holt a 'hostage'.

His wife also was jailed on allegations of being Holt's accomplice.

Sen. Hatch commented on the historic nature of the day, praising Trump for the "great things he was doing" for the country. "Senator Hatch has worked tirelessly on the Holt family's behalf, and I was honored to play a small role in bringing Josh and his wife home to the United States".

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