Local Participatory Structures: The Community Boards
This chapter describes the role of the representative in the local political system, particularly in the rural areas and particularly in attempting to foster economic development. The economic function of the community boards was to design and implement agricultural and industrial projects that would create permanent employment sufficient to bring stability to the rural communities. One of the functions of the community boards was to coordinate the efforts of all local groups. In 1974 there were at least 800 health committees in more than 500 corregimientos. Created in December 1970 by Decree Law 401, they represented the most democratic participatory structure at that moment. The health committees represented the hopes of many in these communities to gain access to the services. But more importantly, the health committees encouraged full, active, and aggressive participation in the local communities. This kind of participation oftentimes clashed with local established interests, especially in the rural communities.