During Palmer's Senate confirmation hearings, he got put in between a rock and a hard place. To secure his nomination he needed to talk a little tough on Hugo Chavez (nothing wins political points like bashing Chavez, after all). So in response to questions from Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), Palmer noted that there was dissatisfaction among the Venezuelan military and that Colombian guerrilla movements operated out of Venezuela.
It didn't come as too much of a surprise then that Chavez refused to accept Palmer, saying, "How can you think I'd accept this gentleman coming here?...You'd best withdraw him, Obama. Don't insist, I'm asking you."
Obama (well, State) did insist. And so did Chavez. In return, the US revoked the visa of Venezuela Ambassador Bernardo Alvarez.
And then Palmer's nomination expired and it seemed like the US was ready to move on. But then State decided to stick to its guns (after pressure to not let Chavez dictate anything), and said they still wanted Palmer to head to Caracas.
Chavez has his favorites for the job: Oliver Stone, Sean Penn, Noam Chomsky or Bill Clinton. (Bill Clinton?)
Never one to miss an opportunity for a joke, Chavez mentioned his recent meeting with Hillary Clinton at the inauguration of Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff: "I said to Mrs. Clinton 'How is your husband?' But I was wrong because I speak very bad English and I said ‘How is your wife?’"
And still no ambassadors in Washington or Caracas.
Image Source: New York Magazine
Online Sources: AFP, Google News, Wall St. Journal, El Universal, Washington Post, Americas Quarterly