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Venezuela's Chavez to Reject US Ambassador Nominee

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speaks to reporters during a news conference at the Presidential Palace in Caracas, Venezuela (File Photo)

Venezuela's president has vowed to reject the U.S. nominee for ambassador to the South American country.

Hugo Chavez said Saturday in a televised speech Larry Palmer will not be allowed to take up his post because the diplomat has been critical of Caracas.

Palmer upset the Chavez administration when he told a U.S. senator that morale was low in the Venezuelan military. Palmer also expressed concern about Colombian rebels finding refuge in Venezuela.

President Chavez says he has told Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro to detain Palmer if he tries to enter Venezuela.

The U.S. Senate is expected to confirm Palmer's appointment soon.

On Friday, Venezuelan lawmakers voted to allow Chavez to bypass parliament and rule by decree for 18 months. That move was denounced by opposition rivals and the U.S. government.