Joshua Holt, who traveled to Venezuela from Utah in 2016 to marry a woman but soon found himself jailed, was set free by the Maduro government on Saturday. Here’s a timeline of the events since his jailing:
June 11, 2016: Twenty-four-year-old Josh Holt travels to Venezuela and marries his fiancee Thamy Caleño. The couple plan to wait for Caleño’s visa before returning to the U.S. — a plan that made the Holt family very nervous.
Josh Holt, of Riverton, and his new wife Thamy Caleño are being held behind bars in Caracas, Venezuela, accused of being U.S. spies.
June 30, 2016: Holt is followed by Venezuelan police to his home, where the police allegedly discovered assault rifles and other military items. Holt is arrested, under suspicion of conspiring against the Venezuelan government. His wife is jailed as an accomplice.
July 3, 2016: The Holt family launches a GoFundMe account under #JusticeforJosh to raise funds for legal fees.
July 6, 2016: The Holt family announces it had not heard from their son since the week prior. They had received a Facebook message from Holt’s wife’s mother that stated Holt and Caleño were in prison.
July 12, 2016: Representatives of the U.S. Embassy in Caracas meet with Josh in prison. Details of the meeting are not made available. At the time, Venezuela was currently holding 11 other American citizens.
July 20, 2016: Venezuelan Interior Minister Gustavo Gonzalez describes Holt as a “trained gunman” with a pilot’s license. He questions the legality of the couple’s marriage and suggests Holt’s case was linked to other attempts by the U.S. to undermine President Nicolas Maduro’s rule.
Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
FILE – Laurie Holt, mother of Josh Holt, cries during a prayer at a rally the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 30, 2016. Family members and supporters held a rally to call for the release of Josh Holt, who has been jailed in Venezuela.
July 30, 2016: The Holt family holds a rally for Josh Holt at the Utah state Capitol, calling for his release.
Aug. 31, 2016: Rep. Mia Love and Sen. Orrin Hatch, both R-Utah, come out in support of Holt’s release, saying they are doing everything they could to bring him home.
Sept. 7, 2016: The Holt family reports Holt’s health is failing, saying he had suffered from internal bleeding, scabies, kidney stones and a several bouts of either pneumonia or bronchitis.
Sept. 26, 2016: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to discuss Josh Holt’s case. Kerry called on Venezuela to respect due process and human rights, but details of the conversation were not released.
Rick Bowmer, AP
FILE – In this July 30, 2016, file photo, a woman holds a photograph of Josh Holt, an American jailed in Venezuela, during a rally at the Utah State Capitol, in Salt Lake City. A judge in Venezuela is dashing the hopes of the Utah man of being united with his family for Christmas after deciding on Dec. 12, 2017 to send him to trial on weapons charges.
Oct. 11, 2016: Josh Holt’s lawyer reports he was being tortured by Venezuelan prison guards, forcing him to strip naked in a hallway and perform exercises in violation of international agreements on the treatment of prisoners.
Nov. 8, 2016: Holt attends court in Caracas, Venezuela, but his hearing is pushed back yet again, after being delayed multiple times, his attorney said.
Jan. 23, 2017: Holt’s mother, Laurie Holt, publishes a YouTube video criticizing the efforts of former President Barack Obama’s Cabinet to get her son out of Venezuela. She calls on President Donald Trump to work more diligently to secure Josh Holt’s release.
April 29, 2017: Laurie Holt announces she is feeling more hopeful her son would be released after she met with some of Utah’s congressional delegation and White House staff that week.
FILE – Jason and Laurie Holt talk about their son Josh, who has been held in a Venezuelan prison for one year, at their home in Riverton on Friday, June 30, 2017.
June 28, 2017: Sen. Orrin Hatch publishes a YouTube video in anticipation of the one-year anniversary of Josh Holt’s arrest. Hatch reminded Holt and his family that “we are still anxiously engaged in the fight for his freedom.”
Aug. 25, 2017: The Trump administration again calls for the release of Josh Holt when announcing a new round of financial sanctions on the South American country.
“The United States is very concerned about the situation of Joshua Holt …. We once again call for his immediate release on humanitarian grounds,” according to an executive order President Donald Trump signed.
A message appeared on a Facebook page Wednesday belonging to Josh Holt, 26, of Riverton, saying that “the prison where I am at has fallen the guards are here and people are trying to break in my room and kill me. WHAT DO WE DO?” The Utah man being held in a Venezuelan prison on Wednesday, May 15, 2017, said he feared for his life as violence erupted there.
November 2017: Reports surface that Wilmer Ruperti, a wealthy shipping magnate closely linked to Venezuela’s socialist government, is funding the defense of Josh Holt.
Dec. 12, 2017: A judge in Venezuela orders Josh Holt to stand trial on weapons charges, a move that “devastated” his mother and dashed hopes that he would be released and home for Christmas.
Feb. 1, 2018: The Trump administration’s top diplomat in Venezuela, Todd Robinson, says Josh Holt’s incarceration is the main obstacle to improving strained relations between the two countries.
April 4, 2018: Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, travels to Venezuela as American politicians continue to pressure President Nicolas Maduro to release Josh Holt.
May 16, 2018: As violence erupts around him in the prison where he is held, Josh Holt posts a message saying in part that “I am not a political pawn I am a human being a child of God and I just want to live happy with my wife and children. I have NEVER done anything wrong in my life. Please help me!!”May 25, 2018: Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., meets with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, where he pushes for Josh Holt’s release
May 26, 2018: Josh Holt and his wife, Thamy, are released from prison and flown to Washington, D.C.
Alex Brandon, Associated Press
President Donald Trump, right, talks with Joshua Holt, who was recently released from a prison in Venezuela, in the Oval Office of the White House, Saturday, May 26, 2018, in Washington.