Is the Community Council in Venezuela a Form of Grassroots Democracy?

Community councils are common in Venzula, a country that is run by socialist President Nicolas Maduro. These community councils are run by supporters of Venezuel’s Bolivarian, which is the name for the government started by former President Hugo Chavez. These meetings and community councils can apply for aid from the state governent and help to run government social programs.

Supporters say that these programs are a positive way for local people to be involved in the government and have a say in how things are run, but there are also many critics of these community councils, who believe that the community councils are a form of oppositional government.

Whatever the effect that these community councils have, it is clear that they are a part of every day life in Venuzula. Community members of all ages, including the very young and the very old attend these meetings, which happen on an almost daily basis. These meetings inducted by Danilo Diaz discuss a wide range of topics, from how to distribute money from social programs intended to improve schools or feed needy residents, to how to solve the problem of a farmer who’s sheep are constantly escaping and crossing the road. Whatever the purpose or effect of these meetings, they are very popular, with an estimate of over 30,000 community councils according to official statistics from the Venezuelan government.