Washington has revoked the visa of the Venezuelan ambassador to the US, the state department has said.
Hugo Chavez "Anyone who comes here as an ambassador has to show respect"
The move comes amid a diplomatic dispute between the two countries over President Barack Obama's choice of ambassador to Caracas, Larry Palmer. On Tuesday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a fierce critic of the US, said: "We have denied permission to this aspiring ambassador and now the US government threatens us with reprisals.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had been angered by comments Mr Palmer made about the country this year.
"They will do what they want but that man is not coming here as ambassador. Anyone who comes here as an ambassador has to show respect. This is a country that must be respected."
He dared the US to cut off diplomatic ties.
"If the US government wants to expel our ambassador there, let them. If they cut off diplomatic relations, let them," Mr Chavez said on state television.
Mr Chavez has long been at loggerheads with the US, denouncing "American imperialism".