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La Torre de David, the world’s tallest slum

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Welcome to the world’s tallest slum: poverty-ridden Venezuela’s Tower of David. Squatters took over this very unfinished 45-story skyscraper in the early 1990s, and they’ve been there ever since. The tower was originally intended to be a symbol of Caracas’ bright financial future, complete with a rooftop helipad, but construction stopped because of a banking crisis and the sudden death of the tower’s namesake, David Brillembourg.

Today, as the government is grappling with a citywide housing shortage, the tower is a stark monument to what could have been in the country’s crime-plagued capital. The tower is dogged by accusations of being a hotbed of crime, drugs and corruption. But to residents, many of whom have spent their entire lives there, it’s just home.

Watch as Vocativ climbs the tower and gains the rare in-depth access to residents’ daily lives inside this unique and sinister establishment.

Few cameras have been allowed into the depths of the tower. It is an experience not to be missed.

(Vocativ video. Published on August 1, 2013)

A video tour of the ‘Tower of David,’ Venezuela’s infamous skyscraper-turned-slum

By Caitlin Dewey, Published: August 2 at 1:06 pm (The Washington Post)

Today, the “Tower of David” is often described as the world’s tallest slum, its most dangerous communal housing project or some combination of the two. But when the skyscraper was conceived in the early ’90s, it was supposed to be a testament to the booming financial class in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas. Construction was abandoned mid-way after the banking crisis of 1994, and the building sat empty until a charismatic gang-member-turned-evangelical-pastor led an occupation in 2007.

Since then, it’s been the subject of near-constant media attention and political controversy, particularly among Venezuelans who want the squatters kicked out… Read more


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