Known as the Tower of David, or Torre de David, a largely unfinished skyscraper in Caracas, Venezuela is today home to nearly 2,500 occupants — all squatters. At 45-stories, the building is known as the world’s tallest slum. For the first time, footage showing what life is like on the inside has been released and it is awe inspiring.
Began in the 1990s, the Centro Financiero Confinanzas, as it was known, was supposed to be a symbol of Venezuela’s economic success. But when banking troubles hit the nation in 1994, construction on the skyscraper stopped, leaving it unfinished. In the years following, the building was left abandoned and emptied. But in 2007 an evangelical pastor led a group of homeless people into the business building to make a home, according to Washington Post. After this, it earned its new name, the Tower of David.
Since moving in, more and more people and families without a place to live have been taking up residence in the 45-story business building. It is the subject of much rumor and controversy in Venezuela. Often, the media portrays the building as lawless and dangerous, full of criminals and gangs, says Gizmodo.
A camera crew made contact with one of the residents of the Tower of David who agreed to help them come inside. To meet him, the crew had to drive motorcycles up ten flights in the building’s parking garage. From there, they had to go by stairs to the floor 23 to meet their contact. With no elevators, this is how all residents must get home each day.
What the crew found was not so much rampant violence and crime but community and cooperation. As a sort of co-op, people in the Tower of David have worked together to convert unfinished offices into impressive apartments. More than this, they have put together electrical and plumbing systems and split the utility costs.
Amazing, no doubt. But what Caracas’ Tower of David shows is that Venezuela has a severe housing and poverty problem that has led to squatting being a common practice.
[Image via Imgur]