Trump Welcomes American Hostage Freed From Venezuela

By Ivan Pentchoukov | The Epoch Times |

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Joshua Holt, who was recently released from a prison in Venezuela, in the Oval Office of the White House, Saturday. Photo Credit: AP / Alex Brandon

President Donald Trump welcomed an American hostage released from Venezuela at the White House on Saturday.

Joshua Holt, a Utah man held hostage by the Venezuelan socialist government for almost two years, reunited with his family and met the president at the White House.

The gesture is an olive branch from Venezuela’s socialist dictator, Nicolas Maduro, amid intensifying sanctions imposed by the United States. But the White House said on Saturday that releasing the hostage does not change the United States policy toward the regime.

“The Maduro regime must call free, fair, and transparent elections, consistent with its constitution. The election process that occurred on May 20 was illegitimate,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

“The regime must allow all Venezuelans and political parties to participate freely in new elections and the democratic process,” Sanders added. “It must release all political prisoners, and must accept desperately needed international humanitarian aid for Venezuela’s dying citizens.”

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