Venezuelan soldiers and officials began moving hundreds of families Tuesday out of a half-built 45-story skyscraper that dominates the Caracas skyline and is thought to be the world’s tallest slum.
The mass eviction from the “Tower of David,” originally intended to be a bank center but abandoned since 1994 and later home to some 3,000 needy Venezuelans, proceeded peacefully.
“Necessity brought me here, and the tower gave me a good home,” said Yuraima Parra, 27, cradling her baby daughter as soldiers loaded her possessions into a truck before dawn.
“I was here for seven years. I’m going to miss it, but it’s time to move on.”
Residents were going to new homes in the town of Cua, south of Caracas, under the state’s Great Housing Mission project–a flagship policy of late socialist leader Hugo Chavez.
Nicknamed after its developer, the financier and horse-breeder David Brillembourg, the Tower of David was viewed by many Caracas residents as a focus for crime gangs and a symbol of property “invasions” encouraged in the Chavez era.
Residents, though, said the building became a refuge from the city’s crime-ridden ‘barrios’ and had turned into something of a model commune.
Inside there was evidence of hyper-organization everywhere: corridors were polished daily; squatters who had first arrived in tents then partitioned spaces into well-kept apartments; work schedules, rules and admonitions plastered the walls. — Andrew Cawthorne, Tribune
A portion of this gallery was initially published in April 2014.