After meeting online in a Mormon forum, Riverton native and returned LDS missionary, Josh Holt, quickly fell in love with his wife, Thamara. In June 2016, Josh traveled to Venezuela where the two were married and settled into an apartment in Caracas while Thamara and her two daughters awaited U.S. visas. Just two weeks later, life for the newlyweds and their families would change forever.
“Just two weeks later, life for the newlyweds and their families would change forever.”
On June 30th, 2016, Venezuelan officials burst into Josh & Thamy’s apartment, arresting the couple. A televised address three weeks later alleged that Josh had been stockpiling “weapons of war”.
Considering Venezuela’s corrupt government and tension between the United States, U.S. officials believe the Holt’s imprisonment is completely politically motivated and have repeatedly demanded the couple’s release. A spokesperson for the State Department at one point urged that Josh was in “extremely poor health” and needed to be brought home, but to no avail.
Now, nearly 2 years later, Josh’s mother, Laurie Moon Holt, is still leading the fight for her son and his wife’s freedom.
1. Do we know why Josh & Thamy, specifically, were targeted and wrongly imprisoned?
Because Josh is an American and is being used for leverage against the United States.
2. Has the government made any recent advancements towards Josh & Thamy’s freedom?
Yes, I can’t say a lot about who, but they are working very hard. It’s [Venezuela] just a country that has no laws.
3. What kind of communication are you able to have with Josh & Thamy? How are they describing their current conditions?
Josh’s mother-in-law sees them both 2x’s a week. He is doing okay. They are having a lack of water in the whole country right now, not to mention food and medicine.
4. Your tenacity is inspiring. Where do you find the strength to continue under unimaginable circumstances?
To be honest, I started out strong. But as the time has become longer, the less I am dealing with it very well. I have many break downs.
5. What would be your message to the Venezuelan government?
To please let them go. To start working with the U.S. to start bettering the country. Stop making not just Josh and Thamy suffer, but the whole country. Josh has nothing against the government in Venezuela. He just wants to bring his wife and other daughter home. To be happy.
6. Do you feel that our government is doing all they can to bring Josh & Thamy home? What is your message to local and federal government officials?
No, I think they could go in with force. You have an innocent man and wife sitting in a prison and thousands of people suffering. Stop the threats of doing something and get it done.
7. What can the public do to help bring Josh & Thamy home?
Start rallying around the White House to bring him home, rallies around all the US. What is going to get them to finally act? You are not dealing with a normal country. They are all corrupt.
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Delaney All Day