Trump welcomes freed American after 'ordeal'

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American Mormon missionary Josh Holt, held by Venezuela without trial on weapons charges since 2016, returned home with his wife on Saturday after the South American country's socialist government unexpectedly released them.

"I'm pleased to announce that after two years of hard work, we've secured the release of Josh and [his wife] Thamy Holt, who are now on their way home to the United States from Venezuela", Hatch tweeted Saturday.

He was commenting after Holt, 26, and his wife Thamara Caleno, landed in Washington after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered their release after two years.

HuffPost contributed additional information to this report.

Josh, Thamy and Marian are getting checked out in a hospital after Josh and Thamy spent almost two years in a Venezuelan prison.

The couple was released shortly after Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) met with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

"Josh had posted videos and pled for help so Senator Hatch made one final plea directly to President Maduro that set wheels in motion", Whitlock wrote in an email to Reuters.

"I'm overwhelmed and it still doesn't feel real", Katie Holt said.

After expressing her appreciation to the president and USA officials Holt's mother Laurie added: "I also want to say thank you to President Maduro for releasing Josh and letting him come home".

Venezuela's communications minister, Jorge Rodriguez, said their release was a goodwill gesture that followed months of dialogue between the Maduro government and USA lawmakers.

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He told Mr Holt said: "You've gone through a lot".

"You were a tough one, I have to tell you, that was a tough situation", the President said to Holt, adding that he is "very proud" of the administration's overall track record.

Senator Orrin Hatch, a Republican from Utah who is retiring, gave all the credit to Trump.

Following the vote, Maduro expelled US charge d'affaires Todd Robinson and his deputy for allegedly conspiring to sabotage the vote by pressuring opposition parties to boycott the election, which had the lowest voter turnout in decades.

Geoff Ramsey, of the Washington Office on Latin America, which advocates for human rights, said that by releasing Holt, Maduro "wants the world to know he is willing to talk". "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".

In 2016, Holt traveled to Venezuela to marry Thamara Candela.

Jason said he feared Maduro had changed his mind, but in the meeting with President Trump on Saturday Sen.

"I'm publishing this video saying everyone is fine here, I'm doing okay".

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

On Saturday night, Holt also met with Trump, who lauded his ability to withstand "more than most people could endure". On Friday, the government freed 20 political prisoners in the interior state of Zulia.

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