State Department: No Change in Venezuela Envoy Choice

WASHINGTON -- The State Department says President Barack Obama's nominee to be the next U.S. ambassador to Venezuela remains the administration's choice for the post despite opposition from President Hugo Chavez.

Spokesman P.J. Crowley said Monday that career diplomat Larry Palmer is still the best candidate for the job and that any concerns about him could be resolved. Chavez said Sunday he would not accept Palmer because he recently suggested morale is low in Venezuela's military and raised concerns about Colombian rebels finding refuge in Venezuela.

Crowley said the administration has not heard formally from Venezuelan officials that they would refuse to accept Palmer's credentials. Diplomatic protocol gives governments the right to reject ambassadors from other nations, although such moves are rare.