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Former Gov. Bill Richardson joins effort to free Utah man jailed in Venezuela

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JULY 09:  Former Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson attends The Paley Center For Media Presents An Evening With WGN America's "Manhattan"  at The Paley Center for Media on July 9, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JULY 09: Former Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson attends The Paley Center For Media Presents An Evening With WGN America's "Manhattan" at The Paley Center for Media on July 9, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)  (2014 Getty Images)

In addition to the support of Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch and Rep. Mia Love, former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is also lending support to help free a Utah man from a Venezuela jail.

“He’s been trying to meet with Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro, but he has not been returning his calls. 

"There’s a lot of push back,” Laurie Holt, mother of Joshua Holt, the man being held in a Caracas prison since June 11, told Fox News Latino.

Holt, 24, and his newlywed wife, Thamara Caleño Candelo, were arrested in Venezuela on weapon charges shortly after their honeymoon – a charge the family and Holt staunchly deny.

“I’m not sure when he’s heading to Venezuela,” Laurie Holt told FNL.

Richardson’s office says he has no plans to travel to the country at this time.

Laurie and Jason Holt, Josh’s parents, have been pushing their local politicians to help their son, who in a letter has complained that his health is suffering.

On August 26, 33 members of Congress signed a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew urging them to take action about what the lawmakers are calling a “human rights crisis in Venezuela.”

Richardson travelled to Cuba in 2011 to press for the release of Alan Gross, the American subcontractor jailed on the island until late in 2014.  

The former U.S. Secretary of Energy was rebuffed by Cuban officials during his visit, and angrily told the press that they were holding Gross as a political prisoner.

In an interview with Newsmax last September, Richardson said about the Gross negotiation, "I screwed that one up ... Instead of shutting up and waiting for things to calm down, I was in Havana, and I went to the press. I said 'Alan Gross is a political prisoner.'"

He added, "The Cubans just dropped me off, and I just wasn't able to get Alan out."

The Holt family is holding onto hope that with the help of numerous politicians, the Venezuelan government will be convinced to release their son sooner rather than later.

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