CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Sunday went through with his threat to reject the diplomat nominated by President Barack Obama to be the U.S. ambassador to Caracas.
Chavez said he won’t accept Larry Palmer as envoy because Palmer recently suggested morale is low in Venezuela’s military and raised concerns about Colombian rebels finding refuge in Venezuela.
Spokesmen for the White House and State Department did not immediately respond to phone calls seeking comment on Chavez’s announcement.
As part of his Senate confirmation process, Palmer said last month that “morale is reported to be considerably low” in Venezuela’s military because of politically motivated appointments.
Palmer also mentioned Colombia’s accusations that Chavez has ignored the presence of Colombian rebel camps inside Venezuela, saying Chavez has an obligation to investigate. Chavez denies he gives haven to the rebels and he severed diplomatic relations with Colombia on July 22 over the allegations.
The Senate has yet to confirm Palmer. It has been expected to take up the matter once senators return from a summer break Sept. 7.