US revokes visa of Venezuelan ambassador

Thursday, December 30, 2010

WASHINGTON/CARACAS - The US revoked the visa of Venezuela’s ambassador to Washington after Caracas refused to accept its envoy to the South American nation.

The Venezuelan government confirmed late Wednesday in Caracas that the visa had been revoked. Bernardo Alvarez’s ouster follows remarks by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez about breaking off ties with the US over Caracas’ refusal to welcome Larry Palmer as ambassador there.

On Wednesday, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the US regretted Chavez’s stance on Washington’s would-be ambassador, but did not say whether Alvarez would be asked to leave.

“We did say that we regret, obviously, the Venezuelan government’s decision to withdraw agreement for ambassador designate Palmer,” he told reporters. “It affects our ability to carry out normal diplomatic relations, and we also said that there could be consequences for that action with that.”

Venezuela rejected Palmer for comments he made in August before the US Senate, when he spoke about the low morale for the Venezuelan Armed Forces and about the interference of Cubans in Venezuelan barracks. Caracas regards such comments as an interference.

“We have denied credentials to that aspiring ambassador. Now the US government threatens that they are going to retaliate. Well, let them do what they want to, but that man will not come here as ambassador. For someone to come here as ambassador he has to show respect,” Chavez said Tuesday.

Venezuela exports to the US some 1.2 million barrels of oil per day.

Filed under: Diplomacy

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