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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

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