“You were a tough one, I have to tell you,” said U.S. President Donald Trump of working to free Josh Holt from the Venezuelan prison he’d been incarcerated in for nearly two years. “That was a tough situation.”
In June 2016, Holt traveled to Caracas, Venezuela, to marry an LDS girl, Thamara “Thamy” Caleño, he had met online while looking for the chance to improve his Spanish. While waiting for her U.S. visa to arrive, the couple was arrested on the charges of stockpiling weapons. The U.S. government fought against the “bogus” charges, but hostility between the U.S. and Venezuela in recent years made the road to freedom difficult.
On Saturday, in what the Holt family is calling a miracle, the Venezuela government unexpectedly announced they would be releasing Josh and Thamy from prison. Laurie Holt, Josh’s mother, received a call from Senator Orrin Hatch’s office at 4:30 in the morning. Laurie told CBS News they had to pack in 90 minutes and get to the airport so they could meet their son in Washington DC.
On Saturday night, the couple met with President Trump before receiving medical care in Washington. On Monday, they flew home to Utah where a crowd awaited them at the Salt Lake International Airport.
At a celebration held in Riverton, Utah, Holt told the crowd, “Man, that was a long vacation. I don’t recommend a two-year vacation to Venezuela.” He then became serious and thanked all those who had prayed for him and his family, speaking of how “my Lord and Savior” helped him and Thamy survive the brutality of the Venezuela prison.
Right now, the family is enjoying their time together and beginning the road to recovery.