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Venezuelan Slumlords Begin Tower of David Evictions

By: PanAm Post Staff - Jul 22, 2014, 12:48 pm

EspañolOn Monday evening, police began evicting families living in the Tower of David, the world’s tallest slum skyscraper. The Venezuelan Minister of Interior and Justice Miguel Rodríguez Torres and Minister of State Ernesto Villegas oversaw the operation.

Rodríguez Torres explained that the process will continue throughout the week and will be done at night to avoid causing traffic jams in the area.


Together with @VillegasPoljakE, we supervise the first stage of relocation that will bring quality of life to hundreds of families.


The Tower of David relocation will continue throughout the week, during the night in order to avoid causing traffic jams.

The Bolivarian National Guard (GNB) carried out the evictions peacefully, using trucks to transport people to their new homes in Zamora City in Valles del Tuy. Nevertheless, many families were required to pay to move out. GNB agents guarded the area to prevent disturbances, and media outlets were prohibited from photographing the scene.

The relocation process will be carried out on a floor-by-floor basis, and public officials expect all evictions to be completed by Friday.

Initially, the Tower of David was intended to be the largest and most modern international finance center in Venezuela. The construction process was interrupted after the tower’s owner, David Brillembourg, died in 1993. Since 2007, the unfinished structure has been used as a squatting ground for the homeless, with the approval of then President Hugo Chávez. The building then became an attraction for journalists, photographers, and foreign artists.

Approximately 1,200 families occupied 28 of the 45 floors of the skyscraper. The families living in the Tower of David created a self-organizing community. The squatters installed their own electricity, finished construction on walls with brick or zinc sheets, and installed running water.

Residents of the building developed a cohabitation system based on common rules and the distribution of maintenance tasks between neighbors. Tattoo studios, ice cream shops, dental services, beauty salons, and even a Baptist church operated inside the building.

However, due to the absence of a police presence inside the building, the Tower of David suffered from increased levels of crime, including drug trafficking, robbery, prostitution, rape, and kidnapping.

Sources: BBC Mundo, Últimas Noticias, El Nacional.