SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Jason Holt thought his son’s captivity in Venezuela would be over in a matter of weeks.
Friday marked the one-year anniversary of Josh Holt’s arrest by Venezuela police.
“Talking with the attorneys and the embassy, he feels hopeless,” said Jason Holt.
This after a year in a Venezuela jail and efforts to release Josh Holt have proven unsuccessful.
The Holt nightmare began a year ago when Venezuelan police knocked on the door of Josh and his new bride.
His father said Josh was put in handcuffs and taken outside.
“They took pictures of him as if he was a trophy,” said Holt.
When their commander arrived and asked why he was being detained, Holt recalled what his son told him.
“Gringo, es gringo (he’s a white American),” said Holt.
He said the police went back inside and witnesses saw them carrying a black bag. Once inside they met Josh’s wife.
“They told her to sit in the living room,” Holt said. “They went into the bedroom and came back out and said ‘look what I found,'”
Venezuela’s interior minister announced they had found a cache of weapons in the apartment. Jason Holt said the weapons were planted and the “black bag” probably contained the weapons.
“He hasn’t even had a court date,” said his father. “When’s that going to happen and then how much longer will they hold onto him?”
Now, the state department is once again asking Venezuela to release him for humanitarian reasons.
“Since February, we made multiple calls for Venezuelan government to release him on humanitarian grounds,” said Heather Nauert, spokesperson for the state department during a press briefing Thursday. “The delays in even providing a preliminary hearing and filing formal charges cast serious doubts on the merit and unlawfulness of his detention.”
Utah’s congressional delegation, spearheaded by Rep. Mia Love is urging President Trump to “vigorously pursue the safe, unconditional, and swift release of Joshua Holt.”
The Holt’s want those in charge to push harder.
“They’re making calls and they’re sending letters but let’s do something that makes a difference not only for Josh but for any other Americans that are being held overseas.”
And Jason Holt isn’t sure how long his son will hold out.
He said a recent letter to his mother in-law in Venezuela showed he’s depressed.
“He just said ‘move on, don’t worry about me, live your life,” said Holt. “Obviously we’d never do that. We’ll fight until the bitter end.”