Expert Voices

Why it matters: The release of U.S. citizen Joshua Holt from Venezuela

Trump and Holt in the Oval
U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes Joshua Holt to the U.S. Photo: Chris Kleponis - Pool/Getty Images

Beyond a triumphant photo-op for President Trump and the Utah Congressional delegation — which mounted an impressive campaign to make the release a priority — the freedom of Josh Holt, a U.S. citizen from Utah that the Maduro regime held hostage for nearly two years, raises the prospect of increased diplomatic activity.

State of play: The release indicates that Maduro may make more releases without loosening his grip on power and shows that back channels between Washington and Caracas exist. Conversation in Washington about Venezuela may move beyond sanctions and threats while U.S. policy will continue to be uncompromised in its efforts to promote a Democratic transition in this crisis-ridden, oil rich nation.