U.S. official says there is growing consensus democracy in Venezuela in peril

The top State Department official for Latin America said Thursday there is a growing consensus in the Western Hemisphere and elsewhere that democracy in Venezuela is in grave peril.

Newly appointed Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon told a congressional committee that the government of President &to=http://english.pravda.ru/main/2002/12/16/40882.html' target=_blank>Hugo Chavez was "subverting democratic institutions by using them to restrict the rights of those who disagree with it, slowly undermining economic freedoms and rejecting the opportunities of globalization."