"Thousands of the councils have been formed nationwide, and they have made decisions on everything from trash collection to school construction."
"Chavez calls the councils the fifth engine in his campaign to transform the world's seventh-biggest oil exporter into a socialist state. At first glance, they may appear like neighborhood watch groups."
"But the councils have government funding, thanks to the oil windfall Venezuela is enjoying. And they have a mandate to carry out projects big and small."