Venezuela has followed suit after North Korea’s recent liberation of American prisoners, releasing Joshua Holt from a dank and dingy Venezuelan prison. Holt was initially arrested after traveling to the South American country in the summer of 2016 to marry his girlfriend, Thamara Candelo.
After their marriage, Holt and his bride were taken into custody and accused of stockpiling weapons, and of being a part of an elaborate American operation planning on overthrowing Dictator Nicolas Maduro. Holt has spent roughly two years imprisoned in the maximum security prison in El Hilcolde.
Moreover, eyewitness accounts of the actual incident accuse the Maduro security police of planting the weapons and then demanding $10,000 in cash from the American couple. When they refused to pay the ransom, they were arrested on the bogus charges.
The release comes only a few weeks after another despot, Dictator Kim Jong-un released 3-American hostages from a North Korean hellhole. This brings the number of American’s released since Donald Trump took the oath of office to 17, which is no simple coincidence.
This President (unlike his predecessor), isn’t leading from behind when it comes to our national security interests. There’s no ambiguity, no confusion and no political spin, as to who our friends are, and who’s our enemy.
The release of the 3-American hostages without a penny being spent on ransom illustrates the Trump policy, which had “Fox & Friends” host Pete Hegseth reacting to the historic moment. Comparing the contrast between President Trump and former President Barack Obama along with John Kerry’s so-called foreign policy in retrieving our hostages from ruthless dictators like Kim Jong Un and Nicolas Maduro.
“What are they saying today as this aggressive approach, this strength approach, this brinkmanship, actually forces a change in something that’s been intractable for 20 years? Here we are,” he said.
In Venezuela the 55-year old dictator served under President Hugo Chávez as Minister of Foreign Affairs, before becoming President in 2013, and was just elected to a second term, capturing almost 70% of the nation’s vote.
However, the election results were boycotted by opposition candidates claiming widespread corruption and voting irregularities.
The release of the 26-year-old Utah native and his wife was the hard work of both Senator’s Orrin Hatch and Bob Corker who worked for “the last two years” on securing their release.
Back in the U.S. Holt and his wife were reunited with their families before flying to Washington to meet with the President at the White House.
Before the meeting, the President said it was “a great honor” to have the Holts at the White House after “a very tough ordeal in a Venezuelan prison.”
Adding; “It’s amazing that you were able to take it.”
Moreover, the White House made it clear that “nothing” was offered in exchange for Holt’s release.
“The United States thanks the Maduro regime for releasing the unjustly detained United States citizen, Joshua Holt, and his Venezuelan wife.
The statement in part continued: “The release of Joshua Holt does not change United States policy. The Maduro regime must call free, fair, and transparent elections, consistent with its constitution. The election process that occurred on May 20 was illegitimate. The regime must allow all Venezuelans and political parties to participate freely in new elections and the democratic process. It must release all political prisoners, and must accept desperately needed international humanitarian aid for Venezuela’s dying citizens.”
“As demonstrated by the President’s Executive Order of May 21, the United States will continue to use all available tools and options to pressure the Maduro regime to abide by democratic norms, and will continue to build a broad international coalition of like-minded partners who want to see the return of democracy to the people of Venezuela.”
As a result of Maduro’s bogus victory, the 14-nation Lima group of Latin American countries including Canada issued a joint statement acknowledging it would not recognize the legitimacy of Maduro election win as president of Venezuela. The United States also condemned the sham election as “an insult to democracy.”