Merida, 10th April 2014 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Yesterday 104 people, including fifty commune representatives, were sworn into the Local Council of Public Planning (CLPP) of Carora, Lara state. The Carora CLPP is the first to swear in for the current period, with others soon to follow.
The CLPP are the municipal budgetary bodies. Mayor of Carora and the Pedro Leon Torres municipality, Edgar Carrasco said that their CLPP was “greatly expanded” compared to its previous period, with the incorporation of the fifty commune representatives.
The commune representatives come from 25 registered communes. The remaining 54 CLPP councillors consisted of: 17 communal council spokespeople (one per parish), 17 more communal council spokespeople elected by their respective parish, ten representatives of social movements in the area, nine councillors (elected in municipal elections in December last year), and the mayor, who presides over the body.
In 2001, the Local Public Planning Councils (CLPP) were formed across the country with the intent of electing community representatives to work with government officials to agree on municipal budgets and carry out municipal planning. However they were not very successful, with many of the “community representatives” handpicked, chosen in small assemblies where elections could be manipulated, or their power to make decisions was bypassed.
Further, once the Communal Councils were created in 2007, and the Federal Government Council in 2010 (CFG – the main entity which assigns funding to communal councils, through regional meetings with them), the CLPP was seen as less relevant. Often, the involvement of community organisations in municipal planning has come down to the priorities or initiative of the particular mayor.
Carora in Lara has been a centre of community and collective organising and Chavista support. It is the home of the Pedro Camejo socialist enterprise, and hosted the national meeting of the network of communeros in 2011 and the International Forum on Alternatives to Capitalism in 2008. Activist Julio Chavez was Mayor of Carora from 2004 to 2008, and is now a legislator in the national assembly.
Carrasco said the CLPP in Carora would send delegates to the state planning body, and would approve 100% of the municipality’s budget.
Here, “we don’t just discuss the investment plan in the CLPP, as the law establishes, but we also discuss, approve, and audit 100% of the budget, including our companies,” he said.