Chavez foes tell US Venezuelan democracy at risk

Opponents of Hugo Chavez on Sunday urged President Barack Obama not to warm up to their president without also addressing their concerns about democracy and human rights in Venezuela. "The president's authoritarianism, which grows everyday, must be discussed," said Milos Alcalay, who was Venezuela's ambassador to the United Nations until he resigned in 2004 over differences with Chavez. Chavez on Saturday announced that Venezuela is restoring its ambassador to Washington, saying he hopes for a "new era" in relations with the US after meeting Obama this weekend at a summit of 34 hemispheric leaders in Trinidad and Tobago. The socialist leader, who had stormy relations with Obama's predecessor and once likened President George W. Bush to the devil, praised Obama for opening the door to improved relations between their nations.