Back to Top

Squatting in Caracas' Tower of David's broken dreams

In the chaotic Venezuelan capital, even a policeman and his family are obliged to live illegally in the infamous Tower of David
La Torre de David, Caracas, Venezuela

La Torre de David, Caracas, Venezuela

The walls of the Tower of David can talk. Fifty-two stories high and crowned with a heliport, this unfinished high rise, originally conceived as a bank, was meant to stand tall among its neighbors in downtown Caracas as an emblem of Venezuela's booming economy and the city's uber-modernism of the 1990s.

Instead, with the country struggling with one of the world's highest inflation rates, chronic food shortages and a currency black market where the dollar trades at 10 times the official rate, La Torre de David (named after its principal investor David Brillembourg, whose untimely death in 1993 coincided with the collapse of the Venezuelan economy), is a metaphor for the state's failure to provide its citizens with housing, public transport and even safety.

Throughout the tower, paper signs plastered on the pale blue walls of the interior corridors offer anything from homemade ice-cream to English lessons to reduced-priced braces to give you a perfect smile.

Performed from home and outside regular office hours, the proliferation of these services speaks of an informal economy that Venezuelans are increasingly relying on to fight off the growing cost of living.

Read the full article: The Guardian

Category (Publication): 
Focus (Country or Region): 

Latest Articles

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff receiving a picture of Hugo Chávez from Nicolás Maduro, May 9, 3013. CC-BY-3.0-br Valter Campanato/ABr - Agência Brasil
More than a decade of Workers Party rule has seen Brazil prioritize ties with its leftist...
Thursday, September 18, 2014 - 12:22
National Hurricane Center forecast track for Hurricane Odile on September 15, 2014.
Odile weakened to a tropical storm Monday night after blazing a trail of destruction throu...
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 - 13:54
Flag of Argentina
Argentina called in the United States' top diplomat in the country on Tuesday to express i...
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 - 13:27
People walk with their luggage at the Maiquetía international airport that serves Caracas on July 3, 2014. Photo credit: LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images
Buses across jungle borders, boats through Caribbean waters and private flights from small...
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - 18:33
Complexo do Maré, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, February 25, 2013. (CC BY-SA) Missão Zona | Flickr
Seeking jobs and forced out of their native lands by loggers, miners and farmers, an estim...
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - 18:18
Aécio Neves speaking in the Brazilian Senate on June 25, 2013. (PSDB-MG - Flickr)
The handsome, accomplished grandson of one of Brazil's most beloved politicians, Aécio Nev...
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - 17:55