Caracas: Venezuelan President
Hugo Chavez dared the United States to "cut off diplomatic
relations" over his opposition to US President Barack Obama`s
choice of a new ambassador.
Last week Venezuela`s foreign minister expressed hope
that the two sides could resolve the row over diplomat Larry
Palmer, who has been nominated by Obama but not yet confirmed
by the US Senate.
"If the (US) government wants to expel our ambassador
there, let them! If they cut diplomatic relations, let them,"
Chavez said on state television yesterday.
Chavez has insisted Palmer is not welcome after the
veteran diplomat sharply criticised Venezuela`s
populist-socialist government during his US Senate
confirmation hearings months ago.
Washington has warned that ties could suffer over the
Relations between the US and Venezuela have been
strained in recent years as Chavez has repeatedly denounced
"American imperialism" and cultivated ties with US bugbears,
including Cuba, Syria and Iran.