Man Jailed in Venezuela for Two Years Gets Warm Welcome in Home State

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
May 29, 2018US News
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Man Jailed in Venezuela for Two Years Gets Warm Welcome in Home State
U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Josh Holt, an American missionary who was released by Venezuela, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 26, 2018. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

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The American man who was jailed in Venezuela for two years was given a warm welcome in his home state of Utah on May 28.

Josh Holt returned to Riverton on Monday with his wife Thamy, who had been imprisoned with him, and his two stepdaughters.

Holt addressed a crowd of around 200 people in the Old Dome Meeting Hall on Memorial Day, with a celebration held in his honor.

“It was hard,” Holt said, reported Deseret News. “But we definitely felt the help, the support of the people here, of the prayers.”

Holt joked about his ordeal, calling it “a long vacation” and saying he doesn’t recommend such a vacation to anyone else.

“We all have trials. Every single person in this room is going through something right now,” Holt told the crowd.

“We have to make ourselves happy in whatever situation we’re going through. It doesn’t matter if you’re in prison, held hostage for however long, you can make yourself happy.”

Holt was flown to Washington from Venezuela, where he was welcomed by President Donald Trump on Saturday night before being taken to a hospital nearby for medical care.

After his release on Monday morning, he and his family flew to Utah.

Before the celebration, Holt was swarmed by supporters at the Salt Lake City International Airport. Hundreds of people were there to welcome him, reported The Salt Lake Tribune.

Holt was set free from Venezuela thanks to Trump and a number of other elected officials, including Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). The missionary has said he was imprisoned on false charges in the South American country, which included authorities there claiming he was keeping a cache of firearms at the home of his wife.

Holt met Thamy in May 2016 in the Dominican Republic and he proposed to her there. The next month he traveled to Caracas to marry her in her hometown, with the pair planning to move to the United States when she received a visa.

In early July, Holt’s family hadn’t heard from him in over a week and they soon received news that he and Thamy had been arrested and sentenced to a prison term.

 

 

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