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Chavez Dares US to Cut Diplomatic Ties

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has dared the United States to "cut diplomatic relations" amid a dispute over the White House's choice of a new ambassador in Caracas.

Mr. Chavez said Tuesday the U.S. "can do whatever they want," but diplomat Larry Palmer will not be coming to Venezuela.

Palmer was nominated to be U.S. ambassador to Venezuela four months ago. The U.S. State Department has said Venezuela's rejection of his appointment will have consequences for the countries' already strained relations.

Mr. Chavez said Tuesday that an ambassador coming to Caracas must respect the country.

His government has complained about comments Palmer made in Washington in September, saying morale is low in the Venezuelan military and that the government has ties with Colombian rebels.

State Department officials in Washington say the U.S. has full confidence in Palmer.

Article by VOA News