American jailed in Venezuela for 2 years to return home to US

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United States sanctions on Venezuela will continue, Vice President Mike Pence said on Saturday, despite the release of an American and his wife from a Venezuelan jail.

Hatch also thanked Corker, the U.S. Senate foreign relations committee chairman, who met with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro Friday in Caracas, Venezuela's capital, to secure the couple's release.

Trump asked everyone sitting with him in the Oval Office to speak about Holt's release but was surprised - and amused - when Lee turned to Holt's daughter to address her in Spanish.

"I'm overwhelmed with gratitude", Holt said.

"Welcome you to the White House".

RIVERTON- Josh and Thamy Holt have arrived home in Utah, where they were welcomed at Salt Lake City International Airport around 7 p.m. tonight.

Trump said it was "a great honor" to have the Holts there after "a very tough ordeal in a Venezuelan prison". "That was a tough situation", Trump said.

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The wife of the American man held for two years in jail in Venezuela says they anxious until their plane was in the air that their release and flight to the US would somehow fall apart.

Holt and his wife had been charged with espionage, violence and spreading activities against Venezuela's constitutional order, he said.

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.

The next morning, they were told to pack their things and prepare to go.

It also followed a almost two-year campaign for their release by Utah Senator Orrin Hatch. The family of Joshua Holt, who was recently released from a prison in Venezuela, father Jason Ho.

Holt and his wife were freed overnight and released to the US Embassy in Caracas, according to Foro Penal, a human rights organization of lawyers and others who assist political prisoners in Venezuela.

Holt's release comes as Maduro moves to ease tensions that have spiked since the May 20 elections, which were boycotted by most opposition parties and denounced as illegitimate by the US, EU, Canada and at least a dozen Latin American countries.

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This come after Tennessee Senator Bob Corker traveled to Venezuela, less than a week after Nicolas Maduro won re-election in a race which was widely denounced.

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. He was echoed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said US policy remains unchanged.

It was emotional for many with didn't know until Saturday if Josh and his family would make it back to the states alive.

"I cleaned out Home Depot", she said. "Josh is coming home, '" said Laurie Holt, recalling how they had to pack and get to the airport in 90 minutes. Obviously, Maduro did not need Senator Corker then. State TV showed the two men at the presidential palace warmly shaking hands. Joshua Holt was wearing a bright orange backpack and was surrounded by supporters.

In televised comments as recently as the beginning of the month, the No. 2 official in Venezuela's ruling Socialist Party, Diosdado Cabello, described Holt as "the head of USA espionage in Latin America", and said that he would remain behind bars. Authorities arrested him on June 30, 2016 and accused him of using his wife's apartment in Caracas to stockpile weapons and suggesting his case was linked to other unspecified US attempts to undermine President Maduro's rule amid deep economic and political turbulence. Bob Corker, Utah Sen. Corker negotiated the release with Maduro. They never received a trial, and maintained their innocence.

Holt was arrested on weapons charged during a trip to Venezuela to marry a woman he'd met on a website to practice Spanish. He was arrested on weapons charges and accused of being a spy.

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