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The ex-missionary had travelled to Venezuela to marry a woman he met online, but was arrested in 2016. from BBC News - US & Canada

Joshua Holt: American held in Venezuela returns home to Utah

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US President Donald Trump with Joshua Holt in the White House. 26 May 2018

US Vice-President Mike Pence says sanctions will remain on Venezuela despite the release of a US prisoner and his wife on Saturday.
Joshua Holt and his Venezuelan wife Thamy Candelo arrived in the US accompanied by Senator Bob Corker, who helped negotiate their release.
Mr Holt later met President Donald Trump at the White House.
Joshua Holt, 25, and his wife Thamy Candelo pictured togetherImage copyrightLAURIE MOON HOLT FACEBOOK ACCOUNT
Image captionJoshua Holt travelled to Caracas to marry his Venezuelan girlfriend Thamy Candelo
Mr Holt and his wife had been imprisoned in Venezuela for two years on charges of concealing weapons.
"Very glad that Josh Holt is now back home with his family - where he has always belonged," Mr Pence wrote in a tweet. "Sanctions continue until democracy returns to Venezuela."
The couple were detained in 2016 at her family's house in the capital Caracas while waiting for US visas, and accused of hiding weapons. Both were jailed for two years.
Mr Corker had held talks on Friday with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.
The US senator shared a picture of himself with the couple after their release, adding: "We are on our way home."
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He later tweeted that they had arrived in the US and had been greeted by Mr Holt's parents.
A spokesman for Mr Maduro said the couple's release was a "gesture" aimed at improving dialogue between Venezuela and the US.
Mr Maduro was re-elected to a six-year term last week, but Washington has refused to recognise the outcome. The election was marred by an opposition boycott and allegations of vote-rigging.
The US had previously accused Venezuela of using Mr Holt as a bargaining chip towards changing Washington's sanctions policy on the country.
Venezuela has not discussed the nature of the talks with Mr Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but said they were "good news for the Venezuelan people".
Mr Holt is a former Mormon missionary from Utah who had travelled to Caracas in June 2016 to marry his Venezuelan girlfriend, Thamy Candelo.
She is also a Mormon and the couple intended that Ms Candelo and her children would move with Mr Holt to the US following the marriage, but they were arrested instead.
Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, who said he had worked with two presidential administrations and various contacts, including President Maduro, on the release, said that he "could not be more honoured to be able to reunite Josh with his sweet, long-suffering family".
Mr Maduro has frequently accused the US of trying to overthrow him and the US has tightened sanctions recently. Only on Tuesday, he expelled the senior US representative in the country, Todd Robinson.
Venezuela is five years into an economic crisis, suffering from hyperinflation and severe shortages in food and medicine.
Turnout was low in last Sunday's election, boycotted by much of the opposition. Mr Maduro was credited with winning 68% of the vote.อ

Joshua Holt case: US sanctions 'to stay' despite prisoner release


Colombia LGBT: The shop that wants men to 'leave behind shyness'

A woman who calls herself Andrea poses on the rooftop of Galax mall, where Tranxtienda is locatesImage copyrightCAROLINA F. DEL DAGO
Image captionAndrea (not her real name) is one of the customers who frequents Tranxtienda
Pinned to the glass door of Tranxtienda, a clothes shop tucked away on the third floor of an aging concrete mall in the Colombian capital Bogotá, a sign reads: "If this door is closed, DON'T BE SCARED."
Behind the glass door is an array of flamboyant clothes, fake nails, wigs and men-sized heels designed in-house for the city's transvestite community.
But what makes Tranxtienda stand apart from any other place is that it caters to mostly heterosexual men who are in the closet and acts as a store-cum-social club in the heart of downtown Bogotá.
"I come here as often as I can," says Valentina, a regular of Tranxtienda. She uses her pseudonym out of fear of being recognised but apologises for the secrecy with a shy smile.

Fear of being recognised

Today she does not have time to "transform" herself, she explains; instead she has come to sit in the store's petite make-up room to socialise on a bustling Saturday afternoon.
Katherine poses on the stairs in the Galax MallImage copyrightCAROLINA F. DEL DAGO
Image captionKatherine (not her real name) strikes a pose in the mall where Tranxtienda is located
"I feel happiest when I'm dressed as a woman," says Valentina. "The rest of the time I feel like I'm acting in a play dressed up as a man," she adds.
Valentina explains that she has never come out to her family or partners, and likely never will.
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While she shares these details, another customer in full drag shies away from interaction in the adjacent locker room, which customers rent from Tranxtienda for a small fee, and where they often spend the day for fear of being recognised outside.
But recognition by friends and family is not the customers' only worry. The store is also located in a run-down and dangerous side of town. A few streets away is the red light district, where transvestites run the risk of being mistaken for sex workers or treated violently.
Bogotá and Colombia as a whole have a thriving mix of subcultures but dressing in drag or being lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) still carries very real risks. Minority rights non-governmental organisation Colombia Diversa estimates that 440 LGBT people were murdered between 2013 and 2016.

'Exploring their femininity'

Tranxtienda is divided into three shops:
  • One where clothes and accessories are bought or rented
  • Another where customers can have their make-up done as well as rent a locker space to change out of their clothes
  • A workshop where Derly Lineras, the owner, and her partner, Zahira, design and tailor outfits
The more daring customers at Tranxtienda stroll around the mall in full drag and make-up, and others venture out to the street, or go out to party on the weekend.
"Yuri" poses on the street outside TranxtiendaImage copyrightCAROLINA F. DEL DAGO
Image captionYuri is one of Tranxtienda's customers who is happy to show off her outfits in the street
"The baptism here is buying bread from over the road at the bakery," says Ms Linares, chuckling. "The people at the bakery enjoy meeting the newcomers."
But the point, explains Ms Linares, is that there are a safe haven and support network for anyone wanting to dress in drag. "Some customers aren't even transvestites, they just come to explore their femininity," she says.
Ms Linares opened the store seven years ago in order to provide a place where men could buy women's clothes without any hassle.
"I first thought of it as a business, but then it turned into a social project because I realized how much people needed support. Unfortunately we can't count on government support," says Ms Linares, referring to what she says is an absence of adequate psychological and medical support for trans people in Colombia.
Ms Lineras is a poster child for LGBT rights in Bogota. She was born a man, became a woman and had a child with her partner, Zahira, whom she met shortly after opening the store.
She is currently working alongside the mayor's office to raise awareness for LGBT people in Bogotá.

Social stigma

Ms Lineras gave everything up in her life after coming out as a trans woman: her men's clothes, her closest friends, and finally her work. But the store quickly took off, filling a much needed void, she explains.
At first her neighbours shunned her, and wanted her out of the mall, but with time they came around to accept her. "Though it was by no means easy," she says.
Derly Linares celebrating her birthday with her sonImage copyrightCAROLINA F. DEL DAGO
Image captionDerly Linares says her son helped break the ice with at least one neighbour
Ms Lineras recalls fondly that it was it was thanks to her three-year old son "that the ice was broken" with her most intransigent neighbour when her son just wondered into the neighbour's office on his own one day and befriended him.
She says that there have been important advancements for LGBT people. Colombia recently legalised same-sex marriage and also allows trans people to change their name and gender marker.

Colombia LGBT: The shop that wants men to 'leave behind shyness'