Caracas: President Hugo Chavez has rejected Larry Palmer as the US ambassador-designate to Venezuela, and urged US President Barack Obama to "look for another candidate”.
"How can you think I`d accept this gentleman coming here? You`d best withdraw him, Obama. Don`t insist, I`m asking you," said Chavez in his weekly "Alo Presidente" radio and television show.
Palmer recently voiced concern about Cuba`s growing influence in the Venezuelan military, which, he said was "considerably low" in morale and professionalism.
In written answers to a US lawmaker`s questions – his nomination as ambassador must be confirmed by the Senate -- Palmer also said there were "clear ties" between leftist Colombian guerrillas and Chavez`s government.
Venezuela`s Foreign Ministry on Thursday had protested Palmer`s statements as "interference and interventionism" and asked the United States for an explanation before he was confirmed in his post.
Palmer "can`t come here as ambassador”, said Chavez. "He disqualified himself by breaking all the rules of diplomacy. He messed with all of us. He can`t come here."
"The best thing the United States government can do is to look for another candidate," for ambassador to Venezuela, he added.