A Utah man imprisoned in Venezuela for two years without trial has made an emotional plea for help, saying in clandestinely shot videos that a prison riot is underway and his life is at risk.
Laurie Holt holds a photograph of her son Joshua Holt, who has been jailed in Venezuela for two years without trial. He moved in with her in the outskirts of Caracas while they waited for her visa to arrive so they could move to the US with her two daughters, NPR reported previous year after speaking to Holt's mother.
In 2016 Holt traveled to Venezuela to marry Thamara Candela.
The U.S. embassy in Caracas said it was "very worried" about the situation. I am not a political pawn. I have NEVER done anything wrong in my life.
Cabello accused the US government and Venezuela's opposition of trying to stage a "show" while the eyes of the world are on the country as it heads toward a controversial election on Sunday.
"They're outside", he says, "They're trying to break in. I love my family and I want my family to know I'm ok and no one is doing any harm to me", he said.
"The Sebin has told me that as long as my government continues attacking this government and as long as Marco Rubio continues talking about me the longer that they will never let me go".
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Venezuela's Public Prosecution has set up an ad hoc commission that will investigate a prison riot among inmates at a crowded Caracas detention center on Wednesday. While he didn't provide details about the disturbance, or what sparked it, he said on Twitter that the delegates offered to coordinate with prison and judicial authorities to address the demands of inmates at El Helicoide, which is the headquarters of the feared Sebin intelligence police.
"We continue to have serious concerns about the safety and welfare of US citizens who are being held there", said US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, citing Holt's video.
The Trump administration has warned it could put crippling oil sanctions on Venezuela if Mr Maduro goes ahead with what the United States and others consider a sham presidential election on Sunday. Several of Maduro's top opponents are barred from running.
None of the prisoners' claims could be verified by The Associated Press. Footage posted online appeared to show prisoners congregating in hallways outside of their cells, filming videos showing the dire state of the prison.
Venezuela's Information Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.
A riot erupted on Wednesday at a detention center where dozens of government opponents of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and a Mormon missionary from Utah are detained, activists and relatives said on Wednesday.
'Joshua Holt and other U.S. citizens are in danger. "The Venezuelan government is directly responsible for the security, and we will make it responsible if something happens to them".
Sen. Orrin Hatch's office in a statement Wednesday said Utah's senior senator had been speaking with Holt's family, President Donald Trump's administration and others in Venezuela, and that he remained focused on securing humanitarian release for Holt.