Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez has warned that Palmer will be detained and put on the next flight home if he tries to set foot in Venezuela, the Associated Press reported on Saturday.
“He went ahead and said whatever he felt like saying, disrespecting Venezuela,” Chavez said in a televised speech. “How is he going to be ambassador? He disqualified himself.”
He went on to express his disapproval of the choice by saying “Give Mr. Palmer a coffee from me, and then bye-bye. He cannot, he cannot enter the country.”
The row over Palmer has simmered since August after he claimed that morale is low in Venezuela’s military.
He also linked Chavez’s government to leftist rebels in neighboring Colombian.
His comments came after Bogota accused Caracas of sheltering the leftist rebels on Venezuelan soil. Chavez denied the allegations and briefly cut diplomatic ties with Colombia over the row.
The US embassy in Caracas has been without an ambassador since Palmer’s predecessor finished his term in July.
The latest dispute came a day after Venezuelan lawmakers voted to let Chavez bypass parliament and rule by decree for 18 months. (*)