The Urgency of Freeing Joshua Holt

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Salud

by Daniel Nardini

What should serve as a lesson to any and all Americans is that there are places in this world that no one should ever go to. North Korea is clearly one. Another is Venezuela. With chronic shortages of just about everything, long lines of people trying to get anything, crime and corruption everywhere, and a brutal and repressive government, even remotely thinking of going to Venezuela is tantamount to suicide. Sadly, one young man, Joshua Holt, did just that last year. He went for the noblest of reasons—getting married to a nice young lady named Thamara Caleno. And yet, it was definitely the biggest mistake of his life. The Venezuelan police planted weaponry inside Holt’s wife’s apartment and busted them for illegal weapons. Back a year ago, there were serious warnings against travel to Venezuela for any purpose. I wonder why Holt and his bride to be could not have gone to a third country to get married, or that he could have gotten his fiancee to come to the United States to get married? Wouldn’t this have been safer?

There is no question that the Venezuelan government is holding Joshua Holt as a bargaining chip; just like North Korea did with Otto Warmbier. We cannot be sure that Holt’s treatment is any better than Warmbier’s was. Joshua Holt’s mother has revealed that he has lost almost half his weight and that he has lost a lot of his hair. He is in despair that he will ever be released, and that no amount of pleading for his release on humanitarian grounds is working. The Venezuelan socialist government is not humane in any way, shape or form. The Venezuelan socialist government is shooting its own people down in the streets protesting the lack of food and human services. Even though he has never had a day in court, and the “evidence” is clearly a joke, he has been held under inhumane conditions for a year now. His family are getting scared for his life.

They have every right to be. His life is not all that valued by the Venezuelan government, and it is possible that he could be tortured and even die in prison. I know that the U.S. government has no real leverage in dealing with Venezuela, and the Venezuelan government will want something hefty from the U.S. government if they will ever release Joshua Holt. It pains me to say it, but time is something Joshua Holt may not have, and there is no guarantee of safety if the Venezuelan government falls. He would definitely be freed if the government falls, but then we have no guarantee of safety for him or any American being held in Venezuela. I know that U.S. President Donald Trump has taken an interest in Joshua Holt’s case, but I do not envy President Trump trying to deal with it. There is urgency in getting Joshua Holt freed and back to his loving family with his wife, but can it be done?

Comments are closed.