Thousands of Venezuelans Forced to Leave Homes in Towering Skyscraper Slum

Some 3,000 of Caracas, Venezuela’s poor have been evicted from their homes in the 45-story shantytown called the “Tower of David.”

According to an August 3 Deseret News article, the tower has been inhabited for about seven years after construction on the skyscraper halted during Venezuela’s financial crisis.

The “Tower of David,” named after building developer David Brillembourg, had originally been intended to be a financial and banking center, a July 22 Reuters article reported.

Then-president Hugo Chavez had encouraged low-income families to move into the tower, which has neither elevators nor a facade in some places. Over time, the squatters established their own running water, electricity and plumbing in the building, according to the Deseret News.

“The tower does not meet the minimum conditions for safe, dignified living,” a government official stated last week as the reason behind the mass eviction, which took place “peacefully,” Reuters reported.

And while the building was, in fact, a safe haven from Caracas’ barrios, which are rife with crime, and were well-organized and cleaned, there were still a number of safety and health hazards for its residents.

Because there were no shutters on the windows, which can help reduce thermal bridging, people sometimes fell off ledges to their deaths. The lack of elevators was a major inconvenience for residents of higher floors, and electricity and water could sometimes be inconsistent, according to Reuters.

Evicted residents of the Tower of David will be relocated to public housing a few hours outside of Caracas, according to the Deseret News.