Joshua Holt is Freed, But…

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - HealthJoshua Holt, the Mormon missionary who went to Venezuela to marry his girlfriend Thamara Coleno (now Thamar Holt) and was imprisoned by the Venezuelan government on bogus weapons charges, is finally free and back home. I wish both he and his wife all the best. Joshua had been imprisoned in Venezuela in 2016 for weapons smuggling and trying to “overthrow” the government of current president/dictator Nicolas Maduro—-a ridiculous charge given the fact that Joshua is a Mormon. But he was used as a bargaining chip against the United States which had imposed sanctions against the socialist government of Maduro. Entirely why Maduro let Joshua Holt out of prison now is speculation. The only good news is that Holt and Coleno are back at home in Utah.

But it should serve as a lesson of what NOT to do. Long before Joshua Holt had gone to Venezuela, there were ample warnings from the U.S. State Department not to go to Venezuela and to keep in mind the open hostility of the Venezuelan government towards Americans. Before Joshua Holt, there had been Americans held as hostages by the Venezuelan government One classic case was that of American filmmaker Tim Tracy who was held by the Venezuelan government back in 2013 and accused of spying. Only after a matter of weeks he was released and expelled from the country. But a precedent had been set, and the U.S. government had warned Americans of this possibility before Joshua Holt.

There are many areas of the world that Americans should not go to lest they are kidnapped and held for ransom for however much money is demanded for their release. If such ransoms are not paid, or rogue governments do not get what they want, they can then torture and kill innocent Americans because their families and the U.S. government cannot pay. I can only advise my readers to be careful wherever they go in this world. Perhaps the U.S. government should make a law forbidding Americans from traveling to Venezuela just like it has done with North Korea.

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