Please disable your Ad Blocker to better interact with this website.

Connect with us

Big League National Security

Nauert: State Dept. demands access to American held captive 17 months in Venezuela



A State Department spokeswoman released an update on Joshua Holt, a 25-year-old Utahan who has been detained in Venezuela nearly a year and a half.

“Dec. 12, U.S. citizen Joshua Holt was charged after more than 17 months of detention,” said Heather Nauert, who before joining the administration was a reporter and presenter for Fox News.

U.S. Embassy personnel were not permitted to attend Holt’s court hearing, she said.

“The United States remains extremely concerned for Mr. Holt’s health and welfare, which continues to deteriorate under the custody of SEBIN, the Venezuelan intelligence agency,” she said.

Trending: FUNNY MONEY: Ocasio-Cortez Accused of Paying Partner with Campaign Cash

The saga began in early 2016 when Holt, a Mormon, traveled to Venezuela to marry a fellow Mormon Thamara Candelo, whom he met on the internet. Shortly after his arrival, the couple was arrested and Holt was accused of stockpiling weapons.

After rescheduling the preliminary hearing five times, the Venezuelan court finally ordered Holt to stand trial on ambiguous weapons charges, said Holt’s attorney Carlos Trujillo, Holt’s Salt Lake City-based attorney, according to a report in the Salt Lake City Tribune.

Trujillo said that the motive for the Venezuelan government’s detainment of Holt may be using Holt as a bargaining chip after theU.S. leveled economic sanctions against the nation.

Two nephews of Venezuelan First Lady Cilia Flores were also recently sentenced to 18 years in federal prison for drug trafficking, the lawyer said.

In her statement, Nauert said the Venezuelan government must grant immediate consular access to Holt, and reminded the Venezuelan government that pursuant to its international obligations, Venezuela must grant Holt fair trial guarantees.

Holt’s life should not be jeopardized under SEBIN’s custody, she said.

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, (R.-Utah), also posted an update on Holt’s situation to his to his Facebook page:

Our beloved Holt family in Riverton continues to get bad news out of Venezuela. As we keep Josh and his family in our prayers, I’ve called on the President, Vice President, State Department, and UN Delegation to redouble our efforts to bring Josh home, and I’ve had my staff working to explore new avenues to work with the Venezuelan government and their neighbors to secure Josh’s release on humanitarian grounds.

We will not give up. #JusticeForJosh


Have a hot tip for Big League Politics?

Got a hot news tip for us? Photos or video of a breaking story? Send your tips, photos and videos to All hot tips are immediately forwarded to BLP Staff.

Have something to say? Send your own guest column or original reporting to

Bypass Tech Censorship!

Facebook, Twitter and Google are actively restricting conservative content through biased algorithms. Silicon Valley doesn't want you to read our articles. Bypass the censorship, sign up for our newsletter now!


Join the conversation!

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.

Send this to a friend