CARACAS — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's government formally rejected Washington's nominee for ambassador Monday, and the US State Department said the decision will have consequences on relations with Venezuela.
US State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Venezuela's government presented an American diplomat in Caracas with a note withdrawing its consent for Larry Palmer to be appointed ambassador. Crowley reiterated that the US stands behind its nomination of Palmer, who is awaiting Senate confirmation.
Tensions flared over the issue as Chavez warned on Saturday that if Palmer arrives in Venezuela he would be detained and put on the next flight home. Palmer angered Chavez by suggesting during the Senate confirmation process that morale is low in Venezuela's military and that he is concerned Colombian rebels are finding refuge in Venezuela.