News & Opinion | May 27, 2018 9:23 am

President Trump Welcomes Home Man Freed After 2 Years of Captivity in Venezuela

Joshua Holt was released by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro as 'goodwill gesture' by the dictator. 

U.S. President Donald Trump shake hands during a meeting with Joshua Holt after his return to the U.S. at the White House on May 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. Holt, who had been imprisoned in Venezuela for two years, was released following diplomat efforts by the Trump and Obama administrations. (Photo by Chris Kleponis - Pool/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump shake hands during a meeting with Joshua Holt after his return to the U.S. at the White House on May 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. Holt, who had been imprisoned in Venezuela for two years, was released following diplomat efforts by the Trump and Obama administrations. (Photo by Chris Kleponis - Pool/Getty Images)

An emotional Utah man who freed after being held in captivity in Venezuela for two years thanked President Trump at a Saturday evening meeting at the White House for helping with his release.

Joshua Holt, 26, had traveled to the South America country in 2016 to marry a woman he met online but was imprisoned and accused of being a spy for the CIA. His release, ordered by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who just won reelection in a vote decried by watchdogs as dubious, is seen as a “gesture of goodwill” to the Trump administration which has been critical of Venezuela.

“Those two years, they were a very, very, very difficult two years,” said Holt, as he sat next to Trump in the Oval Office. “Not really the great vacation that I was looking for. … I’m just so grateful for what you guys have done.”

Republican Senator Bob Corker (Tenn.), who met with Maduro in a surprise meeting in Caracas a day earlier, has been instrumental in negotiating for the release from a notorious Caracas prison.