Monday, October 1, 2012

Are Venezuelan Communal Councils an extension of central power or an explosion of popular power?

There are an estimated 30,000 community councils, which date to a law passed in 2006: they hire skilled and unskilled workers, all of whom generally live in the community, and select the beneficiaries.

The signature programme builds new houses in place of dilapidated ones. To avoid the previous misuse of funds, there are new mechanisms – paying workers only after jobs are satisfactorily completed, with cheques drawn on state-run banks rather than cash handled via community councils.

 Steps have been taken to avoid speculation through the resale of public houses.

 “There's a learning curve in which mistakes made at an earlier stage due to the lack of effective controls are being corrected,” says Leandro Rodríguez of the National Congress's Committee on Citizen Participation.


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